A member of our gymnastics community is celebrating a landmark achievement for her and her club after 30 years of coaching.
Mary Louise Wright was celebrated at our National Awards earlier this month and was nominated for the Education Award for her role on our Preschool Panel, helping to develop our preschool gymnastics education offering.
"What I enjoyed most about the National Awards was the recognition from British Gymnastics in being nominated," said Mary. "They have done a great job in communicating the National Awards to the gymnastics community and it has hopefully increased the profile of preschool gymnastics and what it’s about."
Mary’s expertise in preschool gymnastics stems from her experience as a gymnastics coach. Based in South London, Mary has been running Tooting Gymnastics Club for 30 years, offering recreational gymnastic sessions to over 500 boys and girls.
At the end of 2018, Mary was recognised in the Queens New Year Honours list and was awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to gymnastics and engaging children from her local community into the sport.
"I was surprised and a bit shocked! I really didn't know anything about it until a letter arrived a few weeks before Christmas. When I then heard how the nomination had come about and all the people who were involved it was very emotional and obviously a huge honour. To have been nominated in the first place was amazing, but to have been given the BEM was something else! I am very aware that there are so many other people out there doing the same as me and more, so it's been very humbling, and I am very grateful.
"30 years is a long time, yet it sometimes doesn't feel that long ago. I feel immensely proud of the club and what we have achieved over the years. It's not just been me, but many, many people have been involved and there are some who are still involved with the club who have shared the journey with me. I didn't set out to start a club, it has just grown organically, and I am forever grateful to all those that have been involved and those who will continue to be involved."
Mary was one of two members of our community to be recognised in the New Year Honours as John Wills was also awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to trampolining in North East Scotland. John is the founder of Banchory Trampoline and Double-Mini Trampoline Club in Aberdeenshire and last year he saw two of his members selected to represent Great Britain in Double-Mini Trampoline. John is also the Trampoline Judging Convenor on the Scottish Gymnastics Technical Panel.
Both Mary and John will receive their medals later this year.