The History of Waveney Gymnastics Club

Waveney Gymnastics Club

The club was formed in 1976 at the Harris Middle School by current Director’s John Pawsey. Once the Club moved to Benjamin Britten High School in the early eighties, at the request of the Head of PE, Waveney Gym Club was able to increase it’s number of sessions, capacity and standard of gymnastics. With a membership of approximately one hundred gymnasts, the Club produced County, Regional and National Squad members.

In 1994/95, John Pawsey saw the opportunity to consider working towards the vision of a purpose built gymnastics facility in the town. John Pawsey, the secretary and chief coach at the time began to investigate and research the possibility of Lottery funding for such a project.

By 1998, after a great deal of hard work and negotiation with Suffolk Education Authority for part of the school field at Kirkley High to be allocated to such a building, a submission was made and a 99-year term lease was agreed.  Eventually approval for the project was given in August 2001 and the building work started in February 2002.

The facility was awarded 90% funding and the Club received £1.2 million through the National Lottery. Further support was granted from Waveney District Council’s community budget, SRB funding, partnership funding from local companies and a sponsored parachute jump to accumulate the remaining 11%, totalling £1.4 million.

The complete fit out of equipment was around £150,000, ten years down the line we now have a contingency fund to replace items when necessary.

The facility was first used in November 2002 and officially opened in January 2003. The Centre is fully equipped with Gymnova apparatus and in recent years has become widely recognised as a world class Gymnastics Centre, after hosting a number of International Teams, including Canada, Australia, Japan, Scotland and Great Britain. The Club was also heavily involved in London 2012, as an official Pre Games Training Camp.

The club has Gym Mark status, which is a kite mark for the safety of youngsters and people in our care.  We have a welfare committee and a fully committed Management Committee who are all volunteers.

Membership & Programme

In terms of the membership and programme of the club, we have increased from around eighty-five in November 2002 to around one thousand two hundred at this point in time.

Whereas we originally catered for young children between the ages of four and sixteen we have now branched out to a wider audience. Initially our uptake was from the Lowestoft area, but now we find that our membership comes from a much wider area including Great Yarmouth, Norwich and several of the villages in North Suffolk along the Waveney Valley.

Within the weekly programme, we cater for individuals from the age of eight weeks to adults. Our Early Years Programme includes Parent & Me sessions, FUN4BABY, FUN4TODDLER and structured Pre-School Sessions. 

We have a variety of trampolining classes for youngsters through to adults, recreational Boy's and Girl's gymnastic classes six days of the week, improver and development classes, special needs sessions, Cheerleading, Sports Acro, Floor & Vault, Street Dance, Parkour and several Adult classes.

The training consists of a variety of approaches and the length of training varies from one to three hours. Generally all sessions begin with a warm up, allocated time on apparatus including floor, asymmetric bars, vault and beam for girls and floor, high bar, pommel, rings, vault and high bar for the boys, followed by a warm down.

Private Hire

Many diverse groups within the community use the Centre regularly, previously including; a martial arts club, dance and fitness instructor as well as many charitable organisations such as MAP, Local Children’s Centres, Positive Futures and Optua. We have Schools that book one off sessions and others that attend every week through out the academic year, including Primary, Secondary and Special Needs Schools in the area.

We also host great birthday parties every weekend as well as many Corporate Events, such as ‘Team Building’ Days, Competitions, Courses and Workshops. Every package can be tailor made to suit your requirements!


All coaches and members of the current Executive Committee of the club have similar views and aspirations for the future of the club.  This is predominantly to increase participation levels and promote healthy living whilst raising the standards of our gymnasts, producing both boys and girls to the highest possible level in the near future. 

Our intention is to continue bringing national and international recognition to the club and area as well as encourage competitions to use the venue to promote the sport. As a official London 2012 Pre Games Training Camp, we attracted three international teams including Australia and Canada.