Artistic Gymnastics Coach retires after 45 years

By Jessica Durston - 5 May 2022

Clubs & ActivitiesFitness
  • Wendy Payne

    Wendy Payne

Wendy Payne retired from coaching at the Swindon School of Gymnastics last month.

Throughout her voluntary time at Swindon School of Gymnastics (SSG), she has helped thousands of local children and adults learn technical skills on the four different pieces of apparatus.

A spokesperson for the club said: "Wendy has really built the club up from when both boys and girls clubs trained in multiple leisure centres around the town, before amalgamating and obtaining the luxurious premises that they train in today on the Isis Trading Estate in Stratton."

In her youth, Wendy was a talented netball player, she said her interest for gymnastics only started back in the 1970s when her own daughters took up the sport.

In time, her daughters both become County, Regional Champions and competed at National level for their age groups during the 1980/90s.

Wendy was always a spectator during their gymnastics lessons and in time she underwent training courses and obtained all of the relevant qualifications to help her gain greater knowledge within the sport.

She said after doing so, she wanted to share her knowledge and love for the sport by helping others and running classes at the Swindon School of Gymnastics club.

The SSG team say Wendy has always put others first and gave much of her time up to attend multiple weekly lessons and competitions, and to organise competitions and fundraising events.

She ran workshops, training camps, open days, and judged events, aswell as prepared programmes, personal plans, targets for her gymnasts, and also found time to help run birthday parties and help with the preschool classes. 

Wendy carried out these duties for 35 years alongside having a full time job.

For 10 years at SSG she also ran the adult gymnastics squad, who would often return from the annual British Veteran Championships with numerous medals and title winners.

The SSG team added: "A vast amount of her ex-gymnasts and their parents still to this day keep in touch with her as she’s such a kind and selfless lady. She was like a second mum to people and would do anything for them. She was renowned for treating everyone the same and giving people equal opportunities."

A suprise party was held for Wendy last weekend and the SSG team said a large crowd attended to wish her well.

Wendy received a vast number of personal thank you messages and memories from past and present members who met up for the surprise reunion. The party was organised by her two daughters, and people from other gym clubs around the South West were in attendance to mark the occasion.

The SSG team say Wendy will now continue to be one of the two directors of the club.

Wendy said she will carry on in the Treasurer role and Secretary role behind the scenes to ensure that the club continues to be successful and run smoothly, but in time she will be looking to pass the duties on to someone else.

The SSG team said: "Unfortunately at the last AGM no-one volunteered, so if there is anyone who may be interested in helping and can spare a few hours a month, please email the club at"

More information about the Swindon School of Gymnastics can be found on its website at

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