Dimmer shares lifetime achievement award

News Sports Awards lifetime achievement winner Barbara Dimmer.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150265-455)
News Sports Awards lifetime achievement winner Barbara Dimmer.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150265-455)
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An emotional Barbara Dimmer dedicated her lifetime achievement award to everyone at Fareham School of Gymnastics at The News Sports Awards last week.

Those who know Dimmer will not be surprised by her willingness to deflect the attention away from herself, but her unstinting dedication to gymnastics cannot be questioned.

The retired teacher was close to tears after picking up the prestigious accolade and was thankful for the recognition.

‘I was more than emotional after winning,’ said Dimmer.

‘I was holding onto my friend when I suddenly realised they were reading out the winner and it was me.

‘I never expected it in a million years. It’s the icing on the cake for everything.

‘It’s for the children, the coaches, all the volunteers and everyone involved with the club, it means so much to them.

‘It’s also for my daughter Clare, as I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for her.’

Clare Parker set up the club in 2004 with four members and just a trampette, a springboard and some mats.

A decade on and the club now boasts 420 members. And such is it’s popularity, there’s a huge waiting list to join the club – something Dimmer is very proud of.

She said: ‘I’m proud to have brought the club from small beginnings with hardly any equipment.

‘Now we have 420 members and we’re in three different venues –Portchester Community School, Henry Cort Community School and St John’s Church in Fareham.

‘I just love the children coming in who are a bit of a challenge. I like to see them rise up and become confident children.

‘It’s gymnastics for all children.’

Dimmer has played a pivotal role in the development of Fareham School of Gymnastics, alongside her husband Ken and daughter Clare.

She has dealt with every facet of the club, from administration to coaching and providing support for parents and up-and-coming coaches.

One of her strengths is her ability to remember every child and engage with each family that comes along, regardless of their age or ability.

‘I know every school that every child goes to,’ said Dimmer.

‘It’s a family club and it’s not just about gymnastics, I like to take an interest in the rest of their lives.’

However, now she dreams of building a new centre and a lasting legacy of gymnastics in Fareham.

‘It’s not a centre of excellence, it’s an excellent centre for the community,’ she added.

‘We would like to be able to do it within the next two years.

‘I’m determined to keep my energies up until I see the first brick foundations laid.

‘That’s my absolute dream and that’s what I want for the children of Fareham and the community, and most of all for my daughter.’

Planning permission has already been granted to build on Fareham Academy but the process will not be quick. The club need to raise at least £200,000 before they can take a bid to Sport England and British Gymnastics to get further backing for the project.

Dimmer is determined to make her dream a reality.