Huntingdon Gym Club’s appeal for funding for kit

HUNTINGDON Gym Club’s elite athletes might be on course for 2012 gold, but trainers are warning a problem with kit could ham-string the Olympic hopefuls of tomorrow.

While Luke Folwell, Daniel Keating and Louis Smith are dazzling on the international gymnastic stage, their younger counterparts are struggling with a problem that is a little closer to home, say club officials.

Members of the club’s developmental, intermediate and junior male squads, competing at regional, English and British championship level are in desperate need of some new kit.

The youngsters, aged eight to 15, need professional-looking attire if they are to be in with a shot at championship glory. Squad members can take part in up to six competitions a year across the UK.

Judges can mark contestants down for mismatching kit or kit that doesn’t fit correctly to show their definition during moves, and club officials fear without new clothing the squad members could be unfairly penalised.

The club needs �1,700 to fit out all 14 boys in the three squads, and is appealing to local businesses to help.

Club trustee Polly Carpenter-O’Driscoll said: “Children who train here are both proud and privileged to work alongside Louis Smith, Daniel Keating and Luke Folwell who have all represented our country and been successful in international competition.

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“Much of the community would be unaware that hundreds of young aspiring elite gymnasts train at this club every day of the week. Some as young as 10 years old train here five days a week which can mount up to 16 hours training within that period.

“Many parents travel long distances after school to bring their children to train here, some travelling for over an hour each way. It is a massive commitment for families, and parents fully support the club and their children in the dedication of the sport they have chosen.

“Competition fees can exceed �200 per year and the club kit can be up to �130 per gymnast. Parents currently pay for all travel costs, gym membership, insurance, training, competition fees and kit.

“We are looking to the future and these young boys are the future of the sporting world following in the footsteps of our own international stars.

“They can and will make it because it is their dream, and they know that Huntingdon Gymnastics Club is their tool to help make it a reality for them.”

Each youngster’s comprises of a club leotard, shorts, long trousers and tracksuit. As competition rules prohibit the use of logos on kit, part of the deal would be to have the sponsor’s logo on a polo shirt. The boys wear their polo shirts while warming up.

Sponsors would also see their logo on the club’s website and a banner would be displayed in the club gym in Mayfield Road.

Since it was founded 25 years ago Huntingdon Gym Club has achieved incredible success, including a clutch of Olympic, world and European championship titles for its elite athletes. But to ensure continued success, funding is vital.

Polly added: “We would be grateful for anyone who can see their potential and would be willing to sponsor the kit and even invest in the future of this group of boys.”

INFORMATION: To find out more e-mail Polly at or call 07721068606. If you would like to make a donation to the club for anything else you can do so by entering the Huntingdon Gymnastics Club name on the JustGiving website.