British Gymnastics Foundation have held a two-day disability gymnastics training camp in Aberdeen which saw Olympic medallist Dan Purvis welcomed as a special guest.
Young disabled gymnasts from all over Scotland took part, and shortly after training began on the opening day, the gymnasts got the shock of their lives when gymnastics legend Dan made a surprise visit, spending the day with the gymnasts and coaches.
As an ambassador for the British Gymnastics Foundation, Dan’s visit was part of the charity’s Inspirational Experiences Programme, which aims to transform lives through gymnastics.
During the day, Dan shared his gymnastics experiences and top tips with the gymnasts, coached some parts of the session and even performed some gymnastics to the delight of the gymnasts present.
Dan said: "I had a fantastic day with the gymnasts. It was great to see them having fun, carefree and happy, whilst demonstrating a high skill level. Gymnastics is a sport which is inclusive and can be enjoyed by everyone. It was great for me to be invited to share their day. The volunteers put in so much hard work to make the camp the best possible experience for the gymnasts; and that was great to see and be part of too!
"When I was a kid I had quite a few gymnastics role models like Alexei Nemov and Kanukai Jackson; and I remember watching the Olympics and Manchester Commonwealth Games and being so inspired to dream big. Being at the disability gymnastics training camp today, I got such a warm welcome and so many of the gymnasts told me that I inspire them. That really is a great feeling and it fills me with pride to be doing my bit to inspire others in our sport."
The 2018 training camp organised by Lorna Presly, was the second time the event has taken place. Run as a non-profit event, coaches from Banchory Gymnastics, Beacon Gymnastics, Beacon Rhythmic Gymnastics, City of Aberdeen Gymnastics, City of Glasgow Gymnastics, Garioch Gymnastics and Irvine Bay Gymnastics all volunteered their time to make the event happen.
Speaking after the event, Lorna said: "The camp gave all the gymnasts, from beginner to competitive levels, from all over, a chance to try all the gymnastics disciplines over one weekend.
"It was great to see everyone joining in together again in TeamGym, acrobatic, rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, watched by the expertise of all the voluntary coaches who, this year, came from as far as Ayrshire and Glasgow, and a lot of local coaches too, who gave up their time for the love of our sport.
"Seeing the excitement on the faces of all the gymnasts when they saw Dan was so special. I’ve seen Dan at the British Championships over the past few years and have seen the way he interacts with the disability gymnasts: they obviously look up to him, and he in turn shows them the respect they deserve."
The short-term aim of the camp is to help gymnasts increase their potential as they experience multi-discipline gymnastics with the long-term aim to initiate and foster collaboration amongst Scottish clubs.
Patrick Bonner, Head of British Gymnastics Foundation said: "It’s not every day that you get to see your sporting hero and spend the day with them; so to see all the gymnasts enjoying an unforgettable and inspirational day with Dan, was very special indeed.
"The whole team at the British Gymnastics Foundation is passionate about our goal of transforming lives through gymnastics, so we were very excited to work with our ambassador Dan, and to see first-hand all the excitement and joy that an inspirational experience such as this can bring!"
Find out more about our charity, the British Gymnastics Foundation, and their inspirational experiences.