A real capital day out

Huntingdon Olympic Gymnastics Club (HOGC) secretary Erica MacKenzie offers her regular insight into life at the gym. WHAT an exciting month February has been. On February 14, while everyone else was celebrating Valentine s Day and eating chocolates, cha

Huntingdon Olympic Gymnastics Club (HOGC) secretary Erica MacKenzie offers her regular insight into life at the gym.

WHAT an exciting month February has been.

On February 14, while everyone else was celebrating Valentine's Day and eating chocolates, champion gymnast Louis Smith and I took the early train down to the London Stock Exchange.

Louis had been invited to attend the launch of the initiative between the British Olympic Association and the top 100 FTSE companies as a representative of all potential medal-winning athletes in 2012.


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The initiative involves the pairing of a FTSE company with an Olympic sport's governing body with the view to providing support, advice, strategies and any other professional service in order to maximise success on the field in 2012.

It was a wonderful experience, and Louis did us all proud by posing for photographs and television shots with some really important people, as well as answering a barrage of questions from the media. Towards the end of the launch, we had the opportunity to speak with representatives of Wolseley, a national company which has been paired with British Gymnastics. They showed great interest in our club and are keen to support our efforts for expansion and success in 2012.

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We have recently appointed a part-time fundraiser to help us get the ball rolling.

Our business and development plans are now in place and we have just received news that the Huntingdon Freemen's Society has pledged the club £50k towards the initial project, for which we are very grateful.

We are also in the process of securing a grant of £200,000 from British Gymnastics via Sport England, with the possibility of a further £300,000 becoming available in 2008.

Meanwhile, our own gymnasts have been bringing in monies they have collected. We do not have everyone's money in yet, but there has been some very industrious work done and we will be awarding the prestigious yellow t-shirt for the top fundraiser in the next few days.

Many of our gymnasts are getting ready for some major competitions.

Two of our girls, Marissa King and Kayleigh Cooke, go to France this weekend for an international match against the French, as well as teams from Canada and Italy.

Marissa and Emma White will take part in an international between GB and the USA in Belfast, before flying off to Germany for the prestigious Cottbus Grand Prix. Good luck to them all.

Our boys also face a rigorous programme over the next few weeks.

Luke Folwell, Louis Smith and Daniel Keatings will head to Paris for the first Grand Prix event of the season. The London Open takes place on March 25 and is a final selection event for the Senior European Championships to be held in Amsterdam in April.

Last but not least, Daniel and Luke leave for Kiev to take part in the Stella Zaharova Cup Competition at the end of the month. Phew.

On the coaching side of things, our congratulations go to coaches Liz Morris, Lisa Haylock, Karen Pitcher and Don Greer who recently qualified as Women's Artistic Gymnastics County Judges. Well done to all.

* Taster sessions at the gym will be held on April 2, 3, 5 and 6. Bookings are now being taken after 2pm on 01480 52343.

Parents and Toddlers session (five-year-olds and under) are held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10-11am and from 1.30-2.30pm, and on Saturdays from 9-10am, 10-11am and 11am-12noon. The cost is £3 per child. Term ends on March 31 and opens again on April 16. There are no recreational classes during this time, however, Parent and Toddler sessions are held right through the holidays.

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