South Shields Football Club would like to congratulate a group of eight gymnasts who did South Tyneside proud in the World Championships this month.

The talented girls, from South Tyneside Gymnastics Centre, all performed excellently in the 25th World Acrobatics Championships, in Putian City, China.

Before the event, South Shields FC Managing Director Michael Orr presented each of the gymnasts with a club scarf to take with them on their trip, and wish them good luck.

All eight of them went on to impress on the world stage.

Kristie Harrington, Sofie Lincoln and Gabrielle Evans became the junior world champions after an amazing gold medal-winning performance in the Women’s Trio (13-19 age group).

A great performance by Lauren Said and Vienna Ramsay earned them fifth place in the Women’s Pair (12-18 age group).

Meanwhile, three fantastic routines earned Erin Mattinson, Lauren Emmerson and Lucy Atkinson sixth place in a very close competition at the Senior World Championships.

The girls, all from South Tyneside, built on their success at the World Cup last month, when Erin, Lauren and Lucy put in a fine display to secure a much coveted and prestigious gold medal for Great Britain.

The club is run by Ian and Debbie Said, and is based at Temple Park, in South Shields.

Michael Orr, South Shields FC’s Managing Director, said: “South Shields Football Club is keen to engage with the South Tyneside community and in particular to champion other sporting successes.

“Having visited the gymnastics centre and witnessed first-hand a training session, it is clear to see the dedication and talent that is being nurtured.

“Ian and Debbie deserve great credit for creating a fantastic facility.”

The gymnastics centre is regarded as one of the top four in the country, and has been operated by South Tyneside Gymnastics and Wellbeing Centre Community Interest Company since 2014, following an asset transfer from South Tyneside Council.

The council has been very supportive in helping the centre to run independently, while as a community interest company, all profits are reinvested into the building, facilities and activities for people of all ages and levels of ability.

The dedication of its gymnasts has led to much success, the latest of which came at the World Championships.

Ian Said, a Director of the Gymnastics Centre and gymnastics coach, said: “It’s a great achievement by all eight girls which reflects the effort, teamwork, dedication and commitment not just from the girls but their families who support them.

“South Tyneside Gymnastics Club is very proud of what they have achieved together throughout their careers so far and looks forward to the next chapter. Thank you girls: you are a credit to the club.”

The gymnasts at the centre train for up to 23 hours a week.

Mr Said added: “We’d love to extend our links with the football club.

“We already train some of the club’s junior players helping their balance, agility and core strength, which is great for their football.

“Gymnastics is also a great way to increase resilience to injury.”

IMAGE: Peter Talbot.


Back row (left to right): Lauren Emmerson, Erin Mattinson, South Shields FC Managing Director Michael Orr, Sofie Lincoln, Lauren Said.

Front row (left to right): Gabrielle Evans, Kristie Harrington, Lucy Atkinson, Vienna Ramsay.