Finn’s European adventure

Finn Gavin
Finn Gavin


An Alnwick gymnast is competing at the European Acrobatic Gymnastic Championships.

Finn Gavin is one of 10 members representing Durham’s Deerness Gymnastics Academy.

Taking place in Odivelas, Portugal, the event, which started last week and runs until Sunday, attracts the very best acrobatic gymnasts from across Europe.

All Deerness members competing at the competition are British Champions, having each won a gold medal earlier this year.

Finn, 11, is one of four gymnasts competing as a team in the 11 to 16 age group for ‘men’s four’.

The rest of the team is Michael Gill, from Ponteland, and Nathan Brady from Durham, both 15, as well as 14-year-old Stuart Napier, who is also from Durham.

The 10 Deerness members are coached by Stuart Thompson, who masterminded the club’s senior men’s group to become World Champions in 2012.

He has also been selected as a Great Britain coach for the eleventh year.

“Although many of our gymnasts have already achieved success in international competitions and represented Great Britain at international level, this year the majority are competing in new partnerships,” said Thompson, who is head of acrobatics at Deerness Gymnastics Academy.

He praised the team’s commitment to the cause and the preparation the members have put in to learning difficult routines.

The competition performances will include intricate balances performed by pairs, trios and quartets, with exciting multiple and twisting somersaults with partners being pitched and caught.

He said: “They often train for up to 25 hours a week alongside their coaches, and have worked with international choreographers to prepare their routines to incorporate strength, agility, flexibility, balance and acrobatic skills for this competition.

“The whole club will be getting behind our team as they represent the club and their country while competing at the highest level.”

Deerness Gymnastics Academy now has Matt Baker as its patron.