Inspirational Experience for gymnast Cressida

A gymnast from Berkshire has been surprised with one of our Inspirational Experiences where she got to meet none other than Olympic, World and European gymnast and Strictly star, Claudia Fragapane.

Cressida’s mum first contacted the British Gymnastics Foundation having applied for a Hardship Grant (read more about our Hardship Grants). The family had gone through an incredibly tough time, with Cressida losing her father and her Mum having to care for her alone.

A huge gymnastics fan and regular attendee to her gymnastics club, Cressida didn’t want to stop going to her classes, but times became hard.

Cressida’s mum, Jo says: “Myself and my children were now totally on our own and had to adapt. Activities stopped, treats disappeared, food was budgeted and clothes had to last longer. Children need to be children though; they need a childhood full of fun, laughter and learning. I was determined to find a way to keep my children involved with the sports they loved and for my daughter, this was gymnastics.”

We were delighted that Jo contacted us and were happier still to be able to support the family by helping Cressida continue her gymnastics classes.

Jo says: “Cressida was incredibly lucky to receive funding from British Gymnastics Foundation who understood our family circumstances had changed overnight and supported my daughter to help her continue her gymnastic training in a safe environment under the guidance of professional coaches. For this we are and always will be so grateful.”

Due to the very nature of the circumstances the family had been put in, we were desperate to do more, and asked for a special favour from one of Cressida’s favourite gymnasts – Claudia.

Claudia was more than happy to help, and we arranged for Cressida to have a once in a lifetime trip to Bristol Hawks to see Claudia train and meet her in person.

Following the experience, Cressida sent us an amazing email, which we loved so much, we wanted to share it in full. We’re delighted Cressida had such a great time.

Cressida said: “I would like to say a massive thank you for allowing me to meet Claudia. It was an exceptionally amazing experience for me and I greatly appreciated the opportunity. Being chosen made me feel very special, I am crazy about gymnastics but can only attend one training session a week – I could not believe the British Gymnastics Foundation had chosen ME!

“Although I was excited about watching Claudia train and nervous about meeting her, she was so welcoming, understanding & kind – giving me a big hug when we were introduced. I watched Claudia finish a training session on the bars, then we went upstairs where Claudia used the ballet bar with four more elite gymnasts as they practiced movement skills to music. Some of the routines had been choreographed by Claudia, they were all so graceful and fluid in their movement but Claudia was clearly the BEST!

“Then Claudia invited us to run through a warm up movement routine with her!!! It was like a dance class with gymnastic elements added in with lots of Strictly influences. As I am a dancer this was a perfect warm up for me. The session taught me that it is the tiniest detail that makes a big difference; the lines, the flow, from your toes to your fingers.

“Claudia gave me some great advice about improving my fast track skills and we played a points game for landing correctly which was really fun. Claudia really helped me with confidence on the Beam – Claudia’s advice has given me the confidence to ask to spend more time on the beam each week so I can practice.

“I cannot thank you, British Gymnastics Foundation, Bristol Hawks and of course Claudia enough for such a fabulous afternoon – I will never forget my afternoon with a world medallist and the gymnast who has inspired me for years. I am extremely thankful for everything you all have done to organise this incredible session for me.”