Windfall grant means a new home for North Walsham club after 10-year search

North Walsham Gymnastics Club members. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

North Walsham Gymnastics Club members. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Hundreds of gymnasts are triple somersaulting for joy at news of a windfall which means a decade-long dream will come true.

North Walsham Gymnastics Club members. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

North Walsham Gymnastics Club members. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Sport England today announced a £50,965 grant to North Walsham Gymnastics Club which will secure the popular group its own home.

The cash means the club, formed 15 years ago, can move out of North Walsham Sports Centre and 250 young people will be able to come off a two-year waiting list and start learning gymnastics.

The club also has plans to expand classes for people with disabilities, and open its doors to adult would-be gymnasts as part of its Dream, Believe, Achieve project.

The grant success has thrilled Alexis Thurston, club director and head coach, who hopes their new base will be kitted out and ready in January.

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The club, which is at capacity with 150 members, is in the final stages of negotiations with Drury's Transport for a 7,750 sq ft unit being built as part of a larger building on North Walsham's Cornish Way.

'I'm over the moon,' said Mrs Thurston, 34. 'It means an end to the waiting list and now we can say finally say 'yes' to the deal.'

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The Sport England cash would pay for heating, flooring and some groundworks in the building which will need to be equipped with many other features including changing rooms and toilets, a 14m sq sprung floor and foam landing pits.

Plastic safety surrounds for the foam pit would cost £8,000 alone, said Mrs Thurston.

'The rent will be substantial and fund-raising will be ongoing.'

She hopes to sign up 100 business sponsors for the club and would also like to hear from anyone willing to donate goods or services.

The club meets six days a week but its hours at the sports centre are restricted by the needs of other users.

When the club had its own home it could also offer extra hours to coaches and training hours for top gymnasts, according to Mrs Thurston.

It boasts six gymnasts in the county squad, two county champions and a former regional champion.

Among cash donated to the club's project was £250 from the EDP's Community Chest scheme.

Anyone who would like to help can contact Mrs Thurston via

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