By Simon Parkinson
KING Edmund Gym Club has spoken of its delight at being acclaimed a South Gloucestershire Sporting Hero of 2013.
Representatives of the club were called up to receive the Club of the Year distinction, an inscribed glass trophy, at the Active South Gloucestershire Sports Awards held at the BAWA Club in Filton.
The honour was the latest in a procession of accolades collected by the successful acrogymnastics outfit at the annual awards ceremony. Head coach Nikki Thorne, manager Mark Thorne and gymnasts Sian Williams, Maiken Thorne and Mollie Grehan have all picked up honours in various categories in recent years.
The Club of the Year class recognises clubs demonstrating “significant development throughout the year, in particular through innovative practice, by increasing participation and the development of its workforce.”
Recent months have seen King Eddies finally move into the brand-new Yate International Gymnastics Centre, which is based at the town’s leisure centre. The council’s judging panel were impressed by the efforts that had gone into transforming the large former bowls hall into a state-of-the-art acrogymnastics facility for all members of the community to utilise, regardless of age and ability.
They also weighed-up the fact that the gym club now had a specialist set-up for adults and children with physical and learning disabilities, and that links had been forged with local council-backed charities such as Choices 4U and Playlink.
Nikki, Mark, Tony Wills, a coach and founder member of King Eddies, and his wife Jan, a long-serving club helper, were present to receive the trophy from Radio Bristol’s Geoff Twentyman and Cllr Ian Boulton, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council.
Mark said: “This is a truly prestigious award and it is testament to all the hard work that has gone into making King Edmund Gym Club such an attraction to so many hundreds of children and young adults, while ensuring they and their coaches and mentors are given a high-quality facility to operate in.
“It’s been a tremendous year as a whole, with our World Games gold medal victory in Colombia and our British and European successes, which has involved such a large contingent of gymnasts and parents.
“We’ve spread our wings throughout the county, taking us into schools such as Wick Primary, Woodlands in Yate and Blue Coat and KLB at Wotton. We have coaches going into these schools offering opportunities for children to get involved in gymnastics, which is a great way to keep healthy and active.”
Mark added: “We could not have achieved the award without the partnership we have enjoyed with South Gloucestershire Council and Circadian Trust, and we are extremely honoured that people are recognising all the good things we are doing in the local community for our young people.”