A NEW GYMNASTICS and freerunning club has been launched in Harwich by a former gymnast in the Great Britain squad.

Tom Jewell has started up Jewells Gym Sports, which holds classes at the Harwich and Dovercourt High School gymnasium.

It’s the first club of its type in the town and is aimed at helping local youngsters access the sports.

Tom, 23, said: “From the early age of four, I started gymnastics at the Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club in Ipswich.

“At the peak of my career, I was training four hours a day, six days a week, gaining a place in the GB team.

“I regularly attended the national team training camps at the home of GB sport in Lilleshall.

“But my early years of travelling to Ipswich to train was difficult to fit around school work and a financial burden on my parents, so I have always been passionate about bringing my skills to my community and give kids the opportunities I had, closer to home.

“The travelling was often shared between my parents and a local gymnasts parents.”

Tom, a supply teacher at the school and a coach for the Ipswich gymnastics club, had to cut his own gymnastics career short aged just 15.

A stress fracture to his spine meant it was too painful to continue the high-level training regime.

He then switched to training other budding gymnasts and now wants to provide the opportunities he had to children in Harwich.

He added: “When I finished college I travelled the world for two years, ending up in New Zealand where I continued to coach gymnastics.

“With my new club Jewells GymSports I aim to celebrate our community and allow our children to fulfil their talent, locally without having to travel out of town.”

Tom’s inspiration also comes from close friend Adam Steele, from Harwich, who currently represents the national Ireland team and is aiming for the next Olympics.

He said: “We are very close friends and it has been amazing to watch him grow in the sport.

“It is amazing the amount of talent Harwich has to offer not just in gymnastics but in all sports.”

Tom says he regularly sees youngsters practising the now popular freerunning sport called Parkour around the town and the school.

So he is offering a chance for them to practice and learn the skills in a safe environment.

Free trials are being offered to all children visiting the club for the first time.

For more information, visit Jewellsgymsports.co.uk.