The History of the Club

Orpington Gymnastic Club is the longest established gymnastic club in the London Borough of Bromley, and now trains in the Sports Hall at the Walnuts Leisure Centre in Orpington town centre.

The club was founded around fifty years ago and was originally based at St. Philomena’s School, St. Mary Cray, where it was known as Grassmead Gymnastic Club  It later moved to Orpington, training at Ramsden School for Girls, and was renamed Orpington Girls' Gymnastic Club.

The then new Walnuts Sports Centre was developed around thirty five years ago, and the club became one of their first customers, training there regularly three days a week in the Small Sports Hall.  At that time we dropped the word "Girls" from the club title, there being no boys gym club based in central Orpington.  However the club remained a girls only club by virtue of the fact that we trained in the four Olympic Women's Artistic Gymnastic disciplines of floor, vault, asymmetric bars and beam.

We continue to be based at the Walnuts, although it is now a Leisure Centre.    When the Small Hall was converted into the popular Buzz "soft play" area, the club was relocated in the former Main Sports Hall, now known simply as the Sports Hall.

One of the club's strengths is that we have achieved continuity by encouraging our older gymnasts to assist the qualified adult coaches, and go on to obtain coaching qualifications of their own.  The majority of our present coaches are former club gymnasts.

Paula Hutton originally attended Grassmead and went on to be Head Coach of Orpington Gymnastic Club for over twenty years before taking on the role of Club Welfare Officer, enabling Sam Mills, another former gymnast, to take over the responsibility of being Head Coach.  Paula has now retired from the club, but remarkably, Barbara Phythian, her predecessor as Head Coach during our time at Ramsden, has returned to the club on Saturdays as Technical Advisor.

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