Gymnastics community celebrated at star-studded awards ceremony

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Inspirational people from the gymnastics community have been recognised at the 2020 British Gymnastics National Awards, held at The International Centre, Telford.

Nearly 400 people attended the evening where the outstanding achievements made by gymnasts, volunteers, coaches, clubs and community members were acknowledged.

Winners and recipients from grassroots to elite level were presented with their awards at the ceremony, hosted by BBC Breakfast and BBC Sport presenter Holly Hamilton. With members of the community and a host of European, world and Olympic medallists in attendance, it was a night of celebration in Telford.

Jane Allen, Chief Executive of British Gymnastics said: “Congratulations to all the nominees, winners and recipients who joined us for this special evening. It was an honour to see so many inspirational figures from our community in the same room.

“From grassroot clubs and volunteers to international athletes, we have celebrated success across the sporting spectrum. We are incredibly thankful for the hard work and dedication that is put in by our members who help to ensure that gymnastics thrives.” 

Four gymnasts were crowned Outstanding Athletes of the Year. Artistic world champions Joe Fraser from City of Birmingham, and Max Whitlock MBE from South Essex were recognised alongside world tumbling silver medallists Shanice Davidson from Durham and Elliott Browne from Wakefield Gym Club.

The John Atkinson Award recognises anyone who achieved world champion status and saw Joe and Max return to the stage for a second time. Shanice and Elliott also returned, this time joined by their tumbling teammates Aimee Antonius, Megan Kealy, Kaitlin Lafferty, Jaydon Paddock, Kristof Willerton and Dominic Mensah, after both the men’s and women’s tumbling teams won world gold last November.

Head Men’s Coach at City of Birmingham, and personal coach to Joe, Lee Woolls, picked up the Outstanding Coach of the Year award, as did Max’s personal coach and Director of Coaching at South Essex, Scott Hann. Rob Small is the Tumbling Head Coach for Great Britain, and he too was recognised for guiding both the men’s and women’s teams to world gold.

Two of our most decorated gymnasts were inducted in to the British Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Louis Smith MBE and Daniel Purvis join a select few to have been inducted since Beth Tweddle MBE became the first in 2014. Read more

17-year-old Lucy Wallace from Ballysillan Gymnastics Club in Belfast was presented with the National Young Volunteer Award amongst some incredible nominees, and Peter and June Brooke were announced as National Volunteer Award winners. They have volunteered in the sport for more than 40 years, most recently at Goole Gymnastics Club where they have helped to transform the club.

Valley’s Gymnastics Academy were another of the big winners on the night, with the club taking home two awards. They were announced as National Club Award winners (over 250 members) and, to cap off a brilliant night for the club, they also won the National Award for Equality and Inclusion (club or organisation) for working consistently in the community, providing additional opportunities for underrepresented groups.

The National Club Award for a club with under 250 members went to Sparta Trampoline Club in Scotland, where they have provided a quality and enjoyable experience for their members, making classes accessible to gymnasts of all ages and abilities.

Joanne Dicken from Durham works at Stainsby School of Gymnastics and scooped the National Award for Equality and Inclusion (individual). Joanne is known for engaging with the community and has greatly increased the opportunities for those in the area, regardless of ability or additional need.

Recipients also included members who were recognised for outstanding contributions to safeguarding and education, ensuring best and leading practice, embodying the high standards and values of the sport.

Clare Saporita from Robin Hood Gymnastics and Michele Cowan from Abbey Gymnastics in Belfast, shared the National Safeguarding Award, having delivered a committed and enthusiastic service to the welfare and safeguarding of children within the gymnastics environment. 

The Education Award recognises an organisation or individual who has played a crucial role in providing excellence in delivery of coach education, and this year the winner was Pete Etherington. Pete delivers courses from grassroots, in multiple disciplines, right the way up to high performance level.

Long service was also celebrated with 43 members receiving honours on stage. The Award of Merit was presented to an incredible 36 people, recognising outstanding service to British Gymnastics and the gymnastics community for a minimum of seven years. Congratulations to Alan Carty, Andrew Webb, Andrew MacDuff, Byron Clithero, Catherine Lethbridge, Charlotte Wilkinson, Christine Paddock, Claire Nichols, Craig Richardson, Daniel York Smith, Elizabeth Mounsdon, Geoff Turner, Graham O’Sullivan, Hazel Fern, Helen Korro, Ionut Trandaburu, Jane Nicholson, Janey Payne, Jason Richardson, John Elgy, Jon Hewlett, Karen Edney, Karen Whelan, Kerry Booth, Marie Grehan, Mark Westley, Michelle Mounsdon, Nicola Allen, Olga Berzine, Richard Keasley, Sabrina Dunn, Salme Naylor, Sharon Welch, Sue Arnison, Tracey Griffiths & Ventsi Genov.

Andy Farley, Catherine Bates, Chris Cason, David Balmer, Kay Salter, Simon Moore and Tracey Skirton were recognised for 10 years of service to British Gymnastics and the gymnastics community, by becoming Nik Stuart Honorary Life Members. Nik Stuart MBE was a former European silver medallist and nine-time British men’s champion.

Brendene Hardy was awarded the Frank Edmonds Trophy. Having been involved in gymnastics for 46 years, Brendene was seen as the perfect recipient of the award for going above and beyond for our sport.

Brian Everett, who joined the Board of British Gymnastics in 2011 and became President in 2016, was recognised for his outstanding service with Honorary Life Vice Presidency. Brian stepped down from his role in 2019, after serving the maximum Board tenure of eight years. 

Karen Hutchinson was announced as the very first winner of the British Gymnastics Foundation Award for working tirelessly, assisting the charity to continue transforming lives through gymnastics.

British Gymnastics’ Patron, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, who we were delighted to welcome to awards, said: “Gymnastics is an art as well as a sport and every single one of our successes is a reward of dedication and of high-quality coaching.

“I warmly congratulate all of our winners this evening. I think it is likely that everyone here, in one way or another, has contributed to the growing success of gymnastics, and so as Patron, I would like to thank you for all you have done in the past, and for all, I hope, you will continue to in the future; because the future of gymnastics looks very promising indeed.”

Full list of award winners and final nominees

National Club Award (over 250 members)
Nominee: Canterbury Gymnastics Club
Nominee: Prime Acrobatics
Winner: Valleys Gymnastics Academy

National Club Award (under 250 members)
Winner: Sparta Trampoline Club
Nominee: Stevenage Sports Acrobatic Club
Nominee: Weston Aerobic Gymnastics Club

National Young Volunteer Award
Nominee: Josie Cooper, Canterbury Gymnastics Club
Winner: Lucy Wallace, Ballysillan Gymnastics Club
Nominee: Mia Ivinson, Blackburn with Darwen Acrobatic Gymnastics Club

National Volunteer Award
Nominee: Claire Nichols and Tracey Griffiths, London Festivals Committee
Nominee: Ellen Robinson, GymFun
Nominee: Lindsay Rutherford, City of Edinburgh Gymnastics Club
Winner: Peter and June Brooke, Goole Gymnastics Club

National Safeguarding Award
Winner: Michele Cowan, Abbey Gymnastics
Winner: Claire Saporita, Robin Hood Gymnastics

Education Award
Nominee: Carina Brown
Nominee: Enid Harrison
Winner: Pete Etheringson

National Gymnastics Award for Equality & Inclusion (individual)
Nominee: Jacqui Taylor, Richmond Gymnastics Association
Winner: Joanne Dicken, Stainsby School of Gymnastics

National Gymnastics Award for Equality & Inclusion (club or organisation)
Nominee: Trafford Trampoline Club
Winner: Valleys Gymnastics Academy

Award of Merit
Alan Carty
Andrew Webb
Andrew MacDuff
Byron Clithero
Catherine Lethbridge
Charlotte Wilkinson
Christine Paddock
Claire Nichols,
Craig Richardson
Daniel York Smith
Elizabeth Mounsdon
Geoff Turner
Graham O’Sullivan
Hazel Fern
Helen Korro
Ionut Trandaburu
Jane Nicholson
Janey Payne
Jason Richardson
John Elgy
Jon Hewlett
Karen Edney
Karen Whelan
Kerry Booth
Marie Grehan
Mark Westley
Michelle Mounsdon
Nicola Allen
Olga Berzine
Richard Keasley
Sabrina Dunn
Salme Naylor
Sharon Welch
Sue Arnison
Tracey Griffiths
Ventsi Genov

Nik Stuart Honorary Life Member
Andy Farley
Catherine Bates
Chris Cason
David Balmer
Kay Salter
Simon Moore
Tracey Skirton

Frank Edmonds Trophy
Brendene Hardy, City of Manchester

The John Atkinson Award
Max Whitlock MBE, South Essex
Joe Fraser, City of Birmingham
Shanice Davidson (Durham), Aimee Antonius (Andover), Megan Kealy (Milton Keynes) & Kaitlin Lafferty (Basingstoke)
Elliott Browne (Wakefield), Kristof Willerton (Andover), Dominic Mensah (Pinewood) & Jaydon Paddock (City of Birmingham)

Honorary Life Vice President
Brian Everett MBE

Outstanding Coach of the Year (non-Olympic discipline)
Rob Small, Spelthorne Gymnastics

Outstanding Coach of the Year (Olympic discipline)
Lee Woolls, City of Birmingham
Scott Hann MBE, South Essex

Outstanding Athlete of the Year (non-Olympic discipline)
Shanice Davidson, Durham
Elliott Browne, Wakefield

Outstanding Athlete of the Year (Olympic discipline)
Joe Fraser, City of Birmingham
Max Whitlock MBE, South Essex

Hall of Fame inductees
Louis Smith MBE
Daniel Purvis

British Gymnastics Foundation Award
Karen Hutchinson

British Gymnastics – British Gymnastics

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