IT’S been a busy and successful year for Blackburn with Darwen Acro Gymnastics Club – and it promises to get even better.

The Darwen-based club kicked off 2013 by winning two awards at the Blackburn and District Sports Council awards and has since had gymnasts competing at regional and national final level.

And last weekend, the club officially opened its new home with the help of an Olympic gymnast.

Jenni Pinches, who was a member of the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team GB at London 2012, was at the club’s new home at Tackfield Foundry on Cranberry Lane to cut the ribbon, much to the excitement of gymnasts young and old.

The club marked the occasion by putting on a series of gymnastics displays – all three in front of sold out audience of 100 spectators.

“The display day was a roaring success with sell out ticket sales for the three displays, “said press officer Rachel Stewart. “The gymnasts got to show off their fabulous routines to friends and family.

“Team GB Olympic artistic gymnast Jennifer Pinches was our special guest and she was more than pleased to pose for photographs with gymnasts and sign autographs as well as talk about her experience of competing in the London Olympics 2012.”

The club was set up nearly 40 years ago and currently 123 members, aged from 2 to 16.

As a ‘not for profit’ voluntary organisation – run entirely by volunteer coaches, committee members and parents – it relies heavily on funding and donations. It thanked Ted Holder of Pure Asphalt Co, Bolton, Barry Gavahan and Future Technology Services, Lawson, The Mares family, Chris Bentham, Paul Riley & Ian McAuslane, Russ Simm, Tim Holden and Simply Floors Ltd for their support.

While the official opening was a huge success, the same can be said about the club’s results.

Reece Holmes and Josh Brown finished in an impressive fifth place at the Prep B British NDP finals in Stoke after winning the Northwest Acrobatic Gymnastic Prelim Competition at Wigan’s Robin Park where they beat club-mates Andrew Mares and Jack Platt in to second place.

And Richard Crewe and Billy Walpole are the current North West champions for Grade Two.

Those efforts both in action and behind the scenes saw them named club of the year at the annual Blackburn and District Sports Council awards while coach Sam Crewe was named volunteer of the year.

“It was wonderful to win both awards and a lovely surprise,” added Stewart. “We were delighted for Sam as she puts in so much hard work at the club, as do all the other coaches.”

And it has been a real team effort with gymnasts working hard under a team of coaching that include Jill Ashcroft, Nicola Bradley, Sam Crewe, Marion Lawrenson, Danielle Marr, Elaine Riley, Sarah Riley, Gemma Wignall and Catherine Crewe.

The club also has young volunteer coaches Sophia Esposito and Rebecca Grimshaw and award scheme coaches Georgia Gavahan, Jess Henderson, Molly Holden & Carla Hughes