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Brighton gymnastics coach says goodbye after decades of service

Brighton gymnastics coach says goodbye after decades of service

A gymnastics coach who has dedicated almost 40 years to his club has said a fond farewell.

Jeff Arnold, 78, has been head coach at Hollingdean Gymnastics Club, in Brighton, since 1996.

Now he is closing the club held in the Hertford Junior School Hall, Lynchet Close, due to his wife’s ill health.

“I took my daughter there to do gymnastics when she was five and I used to sit and wait for her and the then head coach said did I want to help and I started training,” Jeff explained.

That was back in 1980, with Jeff taking on the head coach role in 1996.

“We tried to make it recreational as we did not do any competitions,” Jeff says. “None of the coaches got paid, we were all volunteers.”

As the club was in an area regarded as socially deprived Jeff tried hard to keep costs low, charging just £11 a month for the girls aged five to 17 to attend one night a week.  

“Hollingdean used to be very much ‘corporation-type’ housing, but a lot of them have been sold,” Jeff said. “It is not so socially deprived these days”.

On Monday, July 17, a farewell event was held at St Richards Hall in Beal Crescent.

Faye Worthy-Pauling, safeguarding lead at the gymnastics club said: “It was great to see the community coming together to celebrate his achievements. 

“Myself and many members of the local community just want to make a fuss as he has gone above and beyond and keeping prices low and accessible. 

“The children and parents share a love for him, his volunteer team and his dedication.

“Nearly 40 years of volunteering has made a huge difference to our community.”

Jeff Arnold
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