Three Honiton gymnasts make it into national school for circus arts
More than 10 years on gymnastics training for up to 15 hours per week. That’s been the demanding schedule that has helped three Honiton gymnasts take the next step in their dream of performing for a living.
18-year olds Adam Fullick and Kaisha-Dessalines Wright and 19-year-old Valentine Tutcher were among the successful 24 – from hundreds of hopefuls – who made it onto the UK’s only BA (Hons) degree course in circus arts.
The acrobatic trio’s next step towards their dream is no surprise though. Out of the 400+ gymnasts who now attend sessions at Honiton Gymnastics Club on Ottery Moor Lane (in the old Rainbow store), Adam, Kaisha and Valentine are three of the most impressive students the club has ever had in its 31-year history.
The three ambitions gymnasts have now moved into a house together in London and will study and train at the National Centre for Circus Arts, where they will spend 35 intensive hours each week undertaking a mix of taught sessions and scheduled independent learning.
“We wish Adam, Kaisha and Valentine the very best of luck,” said Pam Burns, Honiton Gymnastics Club senior coach and a board director of the club. “I’ve seen the three of them develop not only as gymnasts but also young adults and they’ve all been a pleasure to coach. It’s always sad to see our most dedicated gymnasts leave, but they’ve been a huge inspiration to many of our younger gymnasts and this proves that hard work and dedication really can help you achieve your dreams.”
Valentine, a former student at the Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis, has been training at Honiton Gymnastics Club since she was just seven-years-old. Initially a recreational gymnast, Valentine rose through the ranks and was in the first group of Honiton gymnasts to trial for the age group world championships when she was 13-years-old. A tented handbalancer, Valentine’s gymnastics career also included making the British Chamionship finals, finishing fourth in the Flanders International Acro Cup, competing in several international competitions and being flown out to Israel to show off her skills to their developing acro team. She’s had experience of being both a ‘top’ and a ‘base’ in acrobatic gymnastics. Valentine’s brother Buster is also a successful acrobatic gymnast and her mum, Alison, is a dedicated coach at the club.
Kaisha has been a member of Honiton Gymnastics Club since she was just three-years-old and says that she can’t imagine life without it. An acrobatic top initially, she then became an 11-16 women’s pair base – coached by Pam Burns and Melissa Ilsley – becoming south west champion and competing at the British Championships and international competitions. Kaisha’ strength and flexibility allowed her to become a women’s trio base, where competed first in age group competitions, followed by competing as a junior then senior. Kaisha’s accolades include a silver medal at the Geneva International Acro Cup, a bronze at the Winti Cup and a gold at the Turin Acro Cup. She completed her acrobatic gymnastics career, winning the 2016 Senior British Championships in women’s trio with partners Louise Miller and Sammy Britten.
Adam has been at Honiton Gymnastics club for 12 years and over that time has proven to be one of the club’s most versatile performers. An excellent tumbler, Adam performed at a regional level as a men’s pair top, before become an acrobatic gymnastics base. Performing as a mixed pair with Megan Jones, Adam won gold at the Bristol International, the Geneva International Acro Cup and the Swiss Acro Cup. As a men’s pair with Matthew Beviss Adam took a bronze at the Pat Wade Classic, and as a Men’s four with Buster Tutcher, Ashley Wallis and Matthew Beviss Adam won gold at the Pat Wade Classic and took the junior Men’s 4 title at this year’s British Championships. Adam was fortunate enough to receive funding from the Allhallows Charity in the last year of his training at Honiton Gymnastics Club, which enable him to continue training and entering competitions.
James Reddy, high-performance coach at Honiton Gymnastics Club, said: “It’s rare that people get the opportunity to turn their passion into a career, but this could be a reality for Adam, Kaisha and Valentine. They have all worked extremely hard and are a credit to Honiton Gymnastics Club. We hope that their success will motivate other gymnasts at the club.”