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Wyre sporting duo leaping high with awards

David and Sheila Hanson will travel to the Palace of Westminster to collect their awards
David and Sheila Hanson will travel to the Palace of Westminster to collect their awards

A Wyre husband and wife team who have helped hundreds of county youngsters learn gymnastics have each been honoured with a British Citizen Award.

Super coaches David and Sheila Hanson, both 68 and from Garstang, are so dedicated to their sport they even acted as guarantors and used their home as collateral for the lease when their club, Longridge Gymnastics, moved to new premises in Grimsargh, near Preston.

The couple will be presented with the award at the Palace of Westminster later this month for their outstanding “services to the community”.

Sheila said: “Obviously we’re delighted.

“But it has come as a bit of a shock really. I think some of the parents instigated it and put our name forward and we’re very grateful.”

She continued: “We’re now coaching some of our original children’s children, which makes us feel a bit old but we love it.”

The pair got involved in the sport some 36 years ago.

David said: “My son first attended a local gym class and he was very good at it, but they didn’t really cater for boys.

“The closest one was 50 miles away in Manchester, so I thought instead of sitting watching for hours or going off doing a bit of shopping, I would get into coaching and it all started from there.

“My son ended up on the British team, so it was worth it, but I never thought I would still be doing it all these years later.”

Sheila also trained as a coach and they opened the Longridge club in 1991 so other families would not have to travel so far.

It now has 400 recreational and competitive gymnasts.