Honiton Gym Club senior club coach Pam Burns was honoured at last week’s Devon Sports awards, finishing runner up in the Services to Sport category.
Pam, who is the longest serving member, and an integral member of the coaching staff at Honiton Gym Club for almost 25 years, picked up a ‘highly commended’ award for her tireless work in training gymnasts at the club. She was presented with the accolade by International trial bike rider Andrei Burton at a ceremony hosted by ITV Westcountry presenter Mark Tyler.
Pam said: "It was a great surprise when I found out I had been shortlisted for the award and a real honour to be up there with some of the top coaches from all different sports throughout Devon. I’ve only every coached because I love training the children that come to the club, but it’s always satisfying to be recognised for the work that you’ve done too.
"The most rewarding feeling is when you see the gymnasts in your group that could barely forward roll when they started, who can now make their bodies do the most complicated and impressive gymnastic skills. That makes all the hard work more than worthwhile."
Pam started coaching at Honiton Gym Club when her daughter, Louise, was just six years old. Louise is now 28, but Pam still coaches at the gym club three days per week, ten hours per week. In these 22 years, she has coached gymnasts who have gone on to be regional, British and world champions, and others that have pursued careers in the circus, including one gymnast who performed at the Millenium Dome and another that is an acrobat in Las Vegas for the world-famous Cirque Du Soleil. Pam’s current crop of gymnasts contain three south west champions and three national silver medalists from the recent inter-regional acrobatic gymnastics tournament.
Not content with just coaching though, Pam is responsible for Honiton Gym Club’s membership, competition entries, and is the coaching representative on the club’s supporters’ committee. Always keen to develop her knowledge, she is also a qualified judge and has recently moved up from level 3 club Coach to level 4 senior club coach, passing her exams with flying colours.
James Reddy, high performance coach at Honiton Gym Club, who nominated Pam for the award, said: "Pam is a 'rock' for Honiton Gym Club, and I speak on behalf of all the coaches when I say that we couldn’t imagine the club without her. Not only does she continue to develop her coaching skills and improve her technical knowledge, but also she is in the club session- in session-out, week-in week-out, providing that great sense of consistency and support to everyone involved. This award was well deserved, and we look forward to seeing her produce yet more gymnasts who can continue to drive forward the success of the club."
Pam coaches in the squad acro group at Honiton Gym Club. Gymnasts progress onto her programme after joining the ‘Gym-Crazy Kids’ group, entering the ‘Recreational’ group, and then advancing through their first couple of years of competition training.