Primary school pupils who competed in their first ever gymnastics competition were jumping for joy after being named South Tyneside Champions 2024. St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, in South Shields, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, entered Year 1 and Year 2 pupils into a gymnastics team for the event at The Urban Factory, Hebburn.

The children each learned a gymnastics routine to perform individually before the expert judges, including forward and teddy bear rolls, step turns, stretch jumps, back supports and many more movements and balances.

The St Bede’s pupils soon stretched to the top of the leaderboard with their accurate and fluent routines. The gymnasts will now represent South Tyneside in the Gymnastics County Finals in June, in what promises to be an exciting opportunity for the children.

Coach and Y3 teacher, Brian McVittie said: “These pupils were competing in their first ever gymnastics competition, so for them to scoop the top prize was extra special.

The children came up against a lot of strong competition, but held their own and the dedication they showed to regularly attend after school training sessions in the build up to the event certainly paid off. Many of the children even practised with their parents at home, which helped them to put in their best performances on the day.

Darci Palmer, St Bede’s Y1 and Y2 gymnastics captain, aged seven, said: “We all enjoyed being in a team with our friends and we were all cheering together when it was announced that we had come first.

Hollie Backhurst, vice-captain of the Y1 and Y2 gymnastics team, aged six, added: “We are all really excited for the County Finals in June where we will be representing South Tyneside and St Bede’s – it will be great fun!

At the same event, the South Shields school also had further success in the Year 3 and Year 4 Individual competition. In this age category, St. Bede’s children made a clean sweep of all the medals claiming first, second and third!

The Y3 and Y4 team completed a successful day by claiming 3rd spot in the team event, missing out on top spot by a mere half a point. Many of the St Bede’s gymnasts stay involved in the sport by attending local community sessions at the Urban Factory and South Tyneside Gymnastics Centre.

Mr McVittie added: “We hope other children get involved in their local gymnastics clubs, where they can have fun meeting new friends and develop new skills.

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.