Some of the greats of British acrobatic, aerobic, TeamGym and rhythmic gymnastics were welcomed to the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool at a special ‘champions reunion’ during the Championship Series last weekend.
More than 20 former champions joined together to toast their achievements at the reception hosted by British Gymnastics CEO, Jane Allen.
Representing acrobatic gymnastics was Shanie Redd Thorne, who became World Games champion in 2013 and who won multiple British, European and world medals with partner Danielle Jones while competing as a women’s pair.
Shanie was joined by five-time British champion in the women’s pair event, Alison Cooper, and Bob Cooper, who won three British mixed pairs titles with Mandy Wakefield in the 1980’s.
Angelique Boultwood, who is also a three-time British champion, and who was judging the competition at the weekend, was also at M&S Bank Arena. She was joined by current Technical Chair for acrobatic gymnastics Mel Sanders-Cook.
Former aerobic champions in attendance were multiple British champions Beth Martin and Sebastian de Verteuil. Beth is a four-time champion, having won those titles in the pair, trio and group events from 2010 to 2013, and Sebastian a seven-time gold medal winner in the individual men’s competition. They were joined by Nigel Saunders, Technical Chair for the discipline.
Rhythmic attendees included five-time British champion, and 4-time Commonwealth Games medallist with Team Wales, Laura Halford, 2010 Commonwealth Games team bronze medallist and 2012 Olympian Lynne Hutchison and two-time British champion Hannah Kelly (formerly Walker).
Rebecca Sukhanova (formerly Jose) is a four-time British rhythmic champion, and she was in attendance alongside her 2001 World Championships teammate Hannah McKibbin, who won the British crown herself that same year.
Jenny Bott, who is an honorary life member of British Gymnastics for helping to bring rhythmic gymnastics to Britain, was also recognised, as was Kathie Macreavie, the first British rhythmic judge to judge at the 1975 World Championships in Madrid. At the same Championships Barbara Chadwick (formerly Mould) competed as an individual and Valerie Merrick (formerly Small) and Helen Wallis (formerly Roberts) were part of the first ever British world group exercise, and they too were present on the day. Vicki Hawkins, the Technical Chair for rhythmic was also in attendance.
For TeamGym, Lauren Smith was recognised for her outstanding contribution. An international senior level gymnast for 10 years, Lauren held 10 British titles, including seven senior golds between 2004 and 2015. She was joined by Dr Peter Trankle, TeamGym Technical Chair.
The presentation completes the series of celebrations which have already taken place at the artistic and trampoline, tumbling and DMT British Championships as part of the British Gymnastics 130th Anniversary celebrations in 2018.
Pictured above, rhythmic gymnasts, from left to right:
Front row - Hannah Walker, Rebecca Jose, Jenny Bott, Barbara Mould, Valerie Small, Kathie Macreavie
Back row - Laura Halford, Hannah McKibbin, Lynn Hutchison, Helen Roberts