Leeds Gymnastics Club in good shape ahead of Leeds Sports Awards

Nile Wilson and co might grab the headlines with their exploits on the national and international sporting stage, but there is a lot more to life at Leeds Gymnastics Club than gold medals and glory.

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 10:07 am

Based in Seacroft, the club runs one of the largest grassroots gymnastics participation programmes anywhere in the country.

From parent and toddler sessions and adult classes to working with children who have additional needs plus a school out-reach programme, it can proudly lay claim to more than 1,500 active members.

That commitment to young and old across the city has now earned it a place on the shortlist for the Leeds Cares Award at this year’s Leeds Sports Awards.

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A session at Leeds Gymnastics Club.

And today, as part of a weekly focus on the Leeds Cares Award nominees running during the build-up to the ceremony, the Yorkshire Evening Post is turning the spotlight on the difference the club makes to so many lives.

Gaynor Connor, chair of the Leeds Gymnastics Club board of directors, told the YEP: “The popularity and reach of gymnastics as a sport is incredible.

“Gymnastics offers a great deal – with core body strength and conditioning as the basis of the sport.

“Our programme provides opportunities for people who participate for an hour a week through to our elite gymnasts who are training 20-plus hours a week.

Fun at Leeds Gymnastics Club.

“Everyone is really pleased with the nomination. It’s easy to link the club to the known names – and we are immensely proud of what they achieve – but it’s not our only reason for being here.”

Gaynor also paid tribute to the contribution provided by the club’s team of volunteers, which includes a number of ‘young leaders’ who give up their time to mentor and support the training of other gymnasts.

The club’s home was for many years the Carnegie Regional Gymnastics Centre on the city’s Beckett Park academic campus.

Today it operates as a community interest company, having made the move to Limewood Road in Seacroft in 2012.

Leeds Gymnastics Club.

Top names connected with the club include Marjorie Carter, who competed in the 1960 Olympics, and former British and Youth Olympics champion Ashley Watson as well as the aforementioned Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Nile Wilson.

The Leeds Sports Awards are taking place this year for the 16th time and will celebrate the achievements of people across the city, from grassroots coaches to top professional stars.

Prizes will be given out in 17 categories at the awards ceremony, which is being held at the First Direct Arena next Thursday, February 28.

The YEP-backed category Leeds Cares Award has been launched in conjunction with Leeds Cares, a charity dedicated to improving healthcare services for patients across Yorkshire.

A session at Leeds Gymnastics Club.

Nominees joining Leeds Gymnastics Club on the shortlist include table tennis coach Peter Thompson, Otley Sailing Club and the Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors.

Foam pit fun at Leeds Gymnastics Club.