Olympic legacy on display as King Edmund Acrogymnastics Club move into new Yate home

Gazette Series: King Edmund Acrogymnastics Club director Mark Thorne and members in their new home, the Yate International Gymnastics Centre King Edmund Acrogymnastics Club director Mark Thorne and members in their new home, the Yate International Gymnastics Centre

A NEW era of gymnastics is about to begin in Yate.

The town’s homegrown and highly successful King Edmund Acrogymnastics Club is about to move into the newly-established Yate International Gymnastics Centre.

The centre is in the former home of Yate Indoor Bowls Club, in Yate Leisure Centre, and will host international competitions and displays welcoming hundreds of gymnasts from countries as diverse as Puerto Rico, Turkmenistan and Russia.

Mark Thorne, director of King Edmunds gym club, said moving into the new centre from its current home at the Sports Shed on Armstrong Way would secure the future of gymnastics in Yate.

“We moved into to the shed in August 2009 then acrogymnastics team Spellbound won Britain’s Got Talent in 2010 and our numbers just went through the roof,” he told the Gazette. “Then with the build up to and the London Olympics the participation and interest in gymnastics just rocketed.

“We are still getting lots of inquiries now and we have outgrown our current building.

“Moving here will secure the future of the club for a long time to come. Never say never but I cannot see us outgrowing here for many, many years.”

As well as offering all-through gymnastics classes, from pre-school age to international competition level, the club also has plans to renovate the hall to include a multi-sensory room so it can start offering disabled gymnastics sessions.

“It is something which is very important to us as a club,” said Mark. “We have a few children with disabilities with us already and although they have one-on-one coaching they are also involved in the whole class.

“We have appointed a coach to lead our disability section, Toni-Marie Strachan-Wills, and we will definitely work with groups like adult day care centre Paul’s Place.”

As part of the renovations, the hall will also be fitted with a new office, glazed viewing area and reception and a dedicated area for parkour, the popular freerunning sport.

Already in place is one of six official sprung floors to be used in the O2 Arena for the gymnastics competition during the London 2012 Olympics.

Said Mark: “We fundraised hard to get it and had a London 2012 Inspire grant but now Yate has an official piece of the legacy from the Olympics.

“The kids love it. They know it is from the Olympics and they are excited about it.”

The club is currently renting the hall from the Circadian Trust, which runs all South Gloucestershire’s leisure centres, whilst the lease of the room is finalised by South Gloucestershire Council.

It hopes to fully move into the new international centre by the end of March but is already holding some classes there as well as its spring displays on March 7-9 and an international competition on March 23 and 24.

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