Nikki Thorne awarded British Gymnastics’ Master Coach Honorary Award at British Open

Gazette Series: Tony Willis and Nikki Thorne with their Master Coach awards Tony Willis and Nikki Thorne with their Master Coach awards

KING Edmund Gym Club head coach Nikki Thorne has followed in her father’s footsteps by achieving the same elite accolade from the sport’s official governing body.

Thorne was presented with the British Gymnastics’ Master Coach Honorary Award during the recent British Open Acrobatic Tournament at Stoke’s Fenton Manor, in which 12 members of the Yate-based club took part.

Back in 1998 her dad Tony Wills, himself a King Edmund GC coach, became one of a select band of coaches to be granted the award, while in 2010 Nikki’s daughter Maiken Thorne and competition partner Mollie Grehan, were proud recipients of British Gymnastics’ Master Gymnast hand-outs.

Delighted Thorne was presented with a medal and certificate for her “devoted and praiseworthy service to the association” during a dinner break on the Sunday of the weekend-long British Open event. The award was in recognition of the many successes she has attained over two decades as a local South Gloucestershire and Great Britain coach.

She said: “It’s a real honour to win such a prestigious award. I’m very fortunate to join a small and elite group of coaches, including my dad, who have contributed to the various different gymnastic disciplines under the auspices of British Gymnastics, including the acrobatic and tumbling side of the sport which we at King Edmund focus on.

“The award is also testament to the wonderful staff and fantastic kids I’ve had the privilege of working with down the years, and it’s lovely too that both my dad and eldest daughter have previously received similar awards for their contributions to the coaching and performing side of gymnastics.”

While Thorne was the proud recipient of her coaching distinction, her youngest daughter, Shanie-Redd Thorne, was busy claiming her first British title as a fully-fledged senior alongside dependable partner Danielle Jones in the women’s pairs class at Fenton Manor.

King Edmund club-mates Beth Foster and Courtney Hodge, who are attempting to emulate the many achievements of Shanie-Redd and Danielle during the star duo’s junior career, picked up bronze medals in the junior women’s pairs, while Shannon McClurg, Tianna McClurg and Jess Howard finished just outside the medals after battling their way through a tough 11-16 women’s section, containing 26 fellow threesomes, to reach the final.

In the same category Emma Cornick, Nadia Cocking and Emily Brown were disappointed to miss out on a final place but the 11-16 men’s pairing of Robert Bates and Tyler Kelly demonstrated “good potential” by claiming fourth spot in a highly competitive group.

The tournament as a whole was dominated by the London-based Heathrow club, which is home to famous Britain’s Got Talent acrobatic performers Spelbound.

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