AFTER 30 years running from a school hall, a gymnastics club is just months away from opening its new dream home.

Despite the extra challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Carterton Gymnastics Club is braced to move into The Vault, a purpose-built facility.

The club’s head coach and director, Debra Courtenay-Crane was awarded a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for her services to gymnastics and young people in Carterton, in the recent New Year Honours list.

She has worked tirelessly over the last three decades to get the new facility open.

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Despite the limited facilities, gymnasts from the club have gone to the Commonwealth Games and most recently, a world championship in Orlando.

Clare Mills, marketing and facilities coordinator at the club, said: “As a community interest company, Carterton Gymnastic Club is a not-for-profit organisation that believes every success should feed directly back into our community and we are excited about the opportunities The Vault will offer for the people of Carterton, Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas.

“Opening in March, and created within two empty retail units in Carterton, this will be our purpose-built new home.

“Not just a gymnastics facility, but a community hub for other sports, groups and activities as well.

Oxford Mail: Debra Courtenay-Crane and a volunteer at The Vault. Picture: Carterton Gymnastics ClubDebra Courtenay-Crane and a volunteer at The Vault. Picture: Carterton Gymnastics Club

“The building will house a large main gym, with a smaller second gym or exercise space, a cafe and office spaces.

“It has certainly been a rollercoaster of a ride to reach this point, but with an amazing team of volunteers, a network of amazing coaches and funding from Sport England, West Oxfordshire District Council, Carterton Town Council, the Jim Cousins Trust and more, we cannot wait until The Vault opens its doors to offer sporting opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability or disability.

“We are now taking bookings for gymnastics classes through our website and places are filling up fast.

“As the venue becomes established, and as Covid restrictions allow, we will be adding other sports and exercise classes, so keep an eye on our website.

“We are still fundraising to be able to fully kit our new facility out, so if you can help in any way, please contact us through the website.”

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The opening of The Vault and BEM award caps a memorable year for Ms Courtenay-Crane.

She featured in a music video alongside Rick Astley after winning an unsung hero award for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The song, Every One of Us, features cameos from the likes of sports presenter Gabby Logan and former rugby player Gareth Thomas.

For more on bookings and classes, please visit: