Gymnastics club celebrates doubling its members in North Walsham with official opening

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles.

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles. - Credit: Archant

The number of gymnasts at a north Norfolk club has more than doubled since it moved to new premises in mid-September.

Left to right - Emma Gillespie, senior coach, Norman Lamb MP, Sallie Stuckey, North Walsham Mayor, A

Left to right - Emma Gillespie, senior coach, Norman Lamb MP, Sallie Stuckey, North Walsham Mayor, Alexis Thurston, Head Coach, Mike Brooks Chairman of committee, Pat Johnson, welfare officer. - Credit: Archant

And on Sunday, December 3, North Walsham Gymnastics Club's new purpose-built facility at Cornish Way Business Park was officially opened by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.

About 50 people attended the event including North Walsham Mayor Sallie Stuckey, North Norfolk district councillor Maggie Prior, committee members and the coaching team.

They witnessed a 20-minute display by 28 girl and boy gymnasts simultaneously on various apparatus, highlighting their skills across all age groups and different abilities.

Head coach Alexis Thurston, who won the Big Society outstanding contribution award, made a heartfelt and emotional speech regarding the long journey and sacrifices she has had to make to achieve her dream of running a bespoke gymnastic club.

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles - Credit: Archant


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She said the number of people using the club had increased from 200 to 480 in just over two months, and added: 'I started the club in 2001 at North Walsham Sport Centre two evenings a week with just 15 children, now there are an astonishing 480.

'It has taken 10 years of searching for a suitable property and several years to negotiate and secure leases, contracts and complete necessary building work.

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'It has been a very long project and would not have been possible without the support of so many people from the coaches to the committee members and from my family.'

Back in 2016, the club was awarded approximately £50,000 from Sport England, and received a £10,000 grant from the Big Society Fund and £5,000 from Jewsons building merchants. The club has also held several ongoing fundraising events over the years.

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles - Credit: Archant

Mike Brooks, chairman of the committee, presented flowers to Alexis Thurston, her senior coach Emma Gillespie and Pat Johnson, the club's welfare officer and co-founder.

The club offers classes/sessions six days a week for all ages and abilities.

Extra sessions will be offered in the New Year, and the club hopes to expand further to meet the needs of the local community.

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles

Grand opening of North Walsham Gymnastics Club. Picture: Belinda Shingles - Credit: Archant

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