Award joy for gym club founder

A DEDICATED coach who founded a Glasgow gymnastics club has been honoured with a top award.

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Catriona Lessani, from Bargeddie, has been named the sportscotland volunteer of the year in recognition of her work at Sapphire Gymnastics Club in Maryhill.

The 45-year-old, who founded the club three years ago, spends more than 20 hours a week with the young gymnasts, organising training and fundraising.

She has helped it grow from four members to more than 160 and has encouraged gymnasts to complete coaching qualifications to drive the club forward.

Sapphire currently train at Firhill Sports Complex, but they are set to move into a purpose-built facility in Maryhill in the new year.

Catriona said she was shocked to win the award.

She said: "It is just something we do and it is nice to be recognised for that. It is a club effort.

"For me it is rewarding to see the girls progress."

Catriona launched the club when her daughters, Jasmine, 18, and Danielle, 17, wanted to join a new gymnastics club.

They only had two ­coaches at the start. However, the older gymnasts ­decided to train as coaches to help the younger ones and they now have five.

Once it moves into the new facility the club hopes to double its membership and provide classes for pre-school tots and people with disabilities.

Last year two of the clubs gymnasts came second at the Scottish Tumble Championships in East Kilbride and many of the members regularly travel to compete around the UK and abroad. Catriona does not have a sporting background but has volunteered for various community groups including Guides and Brownies.

The sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide the opportunity to thank ­coaches, officials, and ­volunteers for their dedication and recognise their achievements.

Fiona Wernham, head of coaching and volunteering at sportscotland, said: "We are delighted to have awarded Catriona with the sportscotland volunteer of the year award. She is a very deserving recipient.

"It is down to the ­dedication and commitment of people like Catriona that young people are encouraged to be the best they can be in their chosen sport.

"The work that Catriona puts into providing opportunities for children and young people to become involved in sport and physical activity is amazing and we congratulate her on this award."

The sportscotland national awards has nine categories. Other local winners include Gareth Scott from Johnstone, who won young volunteer of the year, James O'Brien from Barrhead who won community coach of the year and Brian McDougall from East Kilbride who won technical official of the year.


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