History of Wantage Gymnasts
A year before Wantage Gymnasts was formed Margaret Clement started coaching gymnastics to a group of 12 primary school children in one of the local primary schools. There was such a great demand she had to increase the number to 20 children.
In 1976 the Wantage Leisure Centre was opened and Margaret was asked to coach three 1 hour sessions in the Activities room and still the demand continued to grow, so it was agreed that courses would be club based and run in the main sports hall, thus Wantage Gymnasts was formed.
Margaret who was already a PE teacher, attended courses to become a qualified gymnastics coach and judge. The other coaches were also PE teachers, and then parents came along and qualified as coaches.
The club did much fundraising and was given a number of grants enabling them initially to purchase a beam and Asymmetric Bars.
The primary school group started by Margaret was then amalgamated thus becoming part of Wantage Gymnasts. Some of the children started training in both venues. Demand continued to grow so more courses were started on Saturday mornings. The club membership grew to 120 members
By this time the club was becoming competitive and the better squad of gymnasts started training on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. A few years later a Saturday squad was started and also an elite group of 6 gymnasts started conditioning in one of the primary schools.
During the summer months the gymnastics club was invited to do many displays in and around Oxfordshire, including in Christchurch Meadows, Betterton House and at the White Horse Show
The club ran an annual club championships and two novices competitions a year Many gymnasts entered county competitions and successfully won and came back with medals, thus going on to represent Oxfordshire in the Southern Region competing against other counties.
In 1989 Bethan Edwards competed for the Southern Region in the National Novices Championships and in 1990 and represented the region in the National Grades Championships.