The history of Ballysillan Gymnastics Club
From it’s humble beginnings as a local club organised and maintained by the leisure centre, Ballysillan Gymnastics has developed into a self-run, independent Gymnastics Club. The club has produced many talented gymnasts over three decades and participated in competitive events locally, nationally and internationally. We had the honour of Max Whitlock MBE Olympic and world medalist visiting our club to give advice to our gymnasts and share his experiences with us. The clubs success is all due to the hard work and commitment of our coaching and admin team who make BGC the family friendly, attractive and vibrant club it is . We are a cross community club and welcome children from all areas and some travel far to come to our club.
Over the lifetime of the club we have gained strong relationships within the local community and have been presented with several award for excellence. We hold Belfast City Council bronze, silver and gold accreditation and were awarded Northern Ireland Gymnastics Club of the Year 2016-2017. Our young leadership academy were awarded the Diana Award for their services to volunteering .We are dedicated to developing the talent of all our gymnasts and have a strong team of coaches with a track record of experience, proven by our medals received in local, national and international competitions. The same team of coaches also take our recreational classes ensuring none of our members receive any less than the best coaching experience.
All our coaches are access NI cleared and have completed child safeguarding certificates. Several members of the club are first aid trained. The club has in place dedicated welfare, child protection and first aid officers.
Jean Ferris MBE - Head Coach
Jean is the longest standing coach at Ballysillan Gymnastics and has been around almost as long as the club itself. Jean took the club over in November 1982 and since then the club has grown from a membership of 20 gymnasts to approximately 185 gymnasts each Saturday. The waiting list has in excess of over 100 names. Jean has received several prestigious awards such as lifetime achievement, coach of the year and an MBE for services to gymnastics.
Lynsey Whelan - Coach (Level 2 Sports Acro)
Lynsey is a past gymnast and was one of the first members when the club started in 1982 and competed in regional and national competitions. She now holds Level 2 in Sports Acro and is the acting club welfare officer and plays a central role in preparing the senior gymnasts and leading them to success both at home and in national competitions.
Michael Currie - Coach (Level 3 Sports Acro)
Michael was a member of BGC since the age of 10 and competed in competitions regionally and nationally. Michael recently completed his level 3 coaching allowing Ballysillan to step up to the next level of competitive gymnastics. He participates actively within the club creating development and conditioning plans for recreational and competitive gymnasts alike. With his years of experience Michael also provides the club tumblers with a unique insight in his coaching.
Laura Luke - Coach (Level 2 General Gymnastics, Level 2 Sports Acro)
Laura is also a past gymnast currently working towards Level 3 sports acro and level 2 pre-school qualifications. With a strong history participating in multiple disciplines Laura brings a wealth of experience to the club. Her experience in dance is essential in preparing the choreography for our gymnasts routines. Laura works alongside Lynsey playing a fundamental role in preparing our gymnasts for competitive events. Whether coaching recreational or competitive club members Laura devotes the same passion and enthusiasm throughout.
Michael Lindsay - Coach (Level 1 Sports Acro)
Michael has been a member of BGC since the age of 7 competing regionally and nationally. Michael acts as a supplementary coach to the core team, providing support when necessary to both recreational and competitive members of the club. Michael also assists the club fulfilling various roles when the need arises such as acting club judge, and chief technical support. Michael’s competitive experience and judging background provide the club members with a unique insight into competitive gymnastics.
Amy McCann - Coach (Level 1 Sports Acro)
Amy has been a gymnast with us since the age of 10 with a strong history of regional competition. She is currently working on her Level 2 sports acro qualification. Amy acts in a support role to the core Coaching team providing assistance and cover where necessary. An avid sports person Amy’s experience in various clubs and sports make her an ideal coach with the ability to provide concise effective coaching to our club members.
Graham Young - Coach (Level 1 Sports Acro Coach)
Graham is also a past club gymnast and has recently taken up a coaching position within the club in lieu of his daughter taking up the family tradition. Graham has experience competing at regional and national levels and in recent years has completed a Level 1 coaching qualification expanding our coaching team.
Lucy Turner, Lucy Wallace, Dearbhla Cairns, Abbie Clark
These four girls are all members of our Young Leadership Academy and are currently working towards their Level 1 coaching award. They help out with all the recreational classes every Saturday as well as training themselves. They have all competed at competition level.
Our young leaders received the Diana Award which was awarded to them for the time they give up every Saturday to volunteer and help coach the younger members of the club. This was the first time this award came to Northern Ireland and they were invited not only by the Lord Mayor to Belfast City Hall to receive their awards but were also invited by Earl Spencer to Althorp House.
Our admin team
Margaret Turner and Sarah Wallace
Between them, they ensure a smooth running club, keeping parents up to date with club news, events, photos etc via social media and in person.