City of Edinburgh Trampoliners target big leap

CETC head coach/founder Lauren jeffrey, Caitlin O'Brien, Ciara Donlevy and CETC senior coach Kayleigh Jeffrey
CETC head coach/founder Lauren jeffrey, Caitlin O'Brien, Ciara Donlevy and CETC senior coach Kayleigh Jeffrey
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The City of Edinburgh Trampolining Club is savouring yet another glorious week in its impressive short history.

Founded in 2006 by Lauren Jeffrey, a keen East Lothian-based gymnast, the club is now the largest competitive trampoline and double-mini trampoline (DMT) club in Scotland.

Ellie McDonaugh with her gold medal

Ellie McDonaugh with her gold medal

From starting with just 12 youngsters training an hour a week at the Crags Sports Centre, CETC now boasts approximately 180 members – some recreational and others of elite level – receiving in excess of 40 hours of class provision from more than 20 coaches at its two training hubs, Lasswade High School and Meadowmill Sports Centre, and across active schools programmes.

Its top performers regularly make a mark at both worldwide and national competitions. Only last weekend, three of them made a big impact at the British Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling NDP finals in Telford. Ellie McDonaugh, a 13-year-old Ross High pupil, won gold in the DMT Level 1 Women’s 13+ (age-group) event, while Leona Scott, a 17-year-old James Gillespie’s pupil, took silver in the DMT Level 7 Women’s 17+ event. Orla Donlevy, a 14-year-old from Earlston High, finished an impressive eighth in the DMT Level 7 Women’s 13-14.

Remarkably, Ellie, the daughter of current Falkirk and former Hibs football coach James McDonaugh, only took up DMT at the turn of the year. She has won medals in every event she has taken part in.

“Ellie’s a phenomenal talent,” said head coach Jeffrey. “She’s got a natural talent and it was amazing to see her face when she was on the podium last 
Saturday. I’ve got really high hopes for her.”

There is no way I’d let it fail. I’ve even spoken to my parents about selling my house to help fund it

Jeffrey, 31, a high school teacher, devotes every spare minute of her free time trying to enhance the club’s profile and give its members the best chance possible of being successful in a minority sport which is loaded with talent but in a continuous battle for funding and recognition.

“We’re still a very young club,” said Jeffrey. “There are big ones in England that have been going for decades and get lots of funding support to grow and secure facilities, but we are so far pretty much self-funded apart from small council grants.

“We’re punching above our weight. It’s really challenging financially. The hardest thing is seeing a really talented youngster who has to give up or not reach their potential simply because they can’t afford it.”

To underline how well the club is doing, at the 2013 World Cup in Loule, Portugal, CETC’s senior women’s DMT team finished third – behind two world powerhouses of the sport, Portugal and Canada. “It was a mixture of pride and embarrassment because we were on the podium with no flag and no national anthem because we’re only a club and they’re obviously both countries,” said Jeffrey. “We had no idea we’d be so good but we absolutely smashed it.”

Among the club’s biggest accomplishments was having its first elite member selected by Great Britain for the World Championships. Caitlin O’Brien (George Watson’s) competed at the sport’s World Age Group Championships in Florida last year and she and team-mate Ciara Donlevy (Earlston High) are both in contention to compete for the 2015 Junior Great Britain DMT Squad. “We have some genuine, world-class talent at the club, but the hardest part is getting enough funding,” said Jeffrey.

She is hopeful the club will soon have its own training base and has spotted a potential venue. However, this will require investment and support from outside sources. “If it [the new venue] was to happen there is no way I’d let it fail. I’ve even spoken to my parents about selling my house to help fund it. I’d do anything to give these youngsters the best chance to succeed. I am spending my school summer holidays working on it and investigating the possibilities.”

For classes or to enquire about providing sponsorship/funding email secretary@cityofedinburghtrampolineclub.co.uk or visit www.cityofedinburghtrampolineclub.co.uk for details of class times and locations.