Out of balance

Robin Hamer

GymnastsPatsy, on the left, leading my Gymnastic display group, Middle Row school  London

Patsy and Roy were part of my group of difficult youngsters living under the shadow of Trellick Tower, a 31 story block of flats. It was designed in the Brutalist style by Erno Goldfinger a humorless man given to notorious rages. In 1976 North Kensington in London was an impoverished area dominated by Irish, West Indian and the Moroccan immigrants. I had a job in Middle Row primary school teaching children who rejected even trying anything new and had a poor opinion of themselves.

I tried lots of things to hook them and grab their interest only stumbling across gymnastics in an unplanned sort of way. They took to it with both energetic expression and great seriousness. I took the exams and became an advanced gymnastic coach so I could help them and we practiced every evening after school. Their gymnastic displays became news worthy events, full of confidence, skill and beauty. After, on their way home, they and their parents walked a little taller.

 

Robin Hamer

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