2 July 2015Star British gymnast Beth Tweddle inspires young gymnasts at William Allitt School
OLYMPIC medallist Beth Tweddle has given South Derbyshire primary and secondary school pupils a master class in gymnastics.
The Great Britain star, who won bronze at London 2012, was a guest at William Allitt School, in Newhall.
The 30-year-old gymnast, who retired in 2013, held two sessions at the school.
The first involved children from primary schools in Swadlincote, Newhall, Overseal and Coton-in-the-Elms.
She then went on to share her experience with William Allitt pupils.
Tweddle was also a VIP guest at the school's sports awards evening, held at Burton Town Hall, where she handed out prizes.
The most decorated British gymnast in the history of the sport told the Mail that it was great to see children taking part in gymnastics and it was important for them to know that she could empathise with them.
Tweddle said: "It is massively encouraging seeing kids taking part. We had a great time, they had a laugh and they all had smiles when they walked out of the door.
"It is kind of nice to be able to get around the younger kids and give a little bit back.
"I want to make the children realise that I was a normal seven-year-old too that loved the sport.
"I had a dream to do well in gymnastics and they should have the belief that they can do the same."
Last year the triple world champion was targeted by online bullies who attacked her during a Twitter question and answer session.
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She told pupils at the school, who had spoken to her about it, not to be afraid to speak to someone.
Beth said: "It is a very different world now to when I was growing up. We did not have Twitter and Facebook.
"I just told the kids that there was nothing to be ashamed of, it is not you who is doing something wrong and encouraged them to speak to someone they could trust."
Since retiring, Tweddle has become an ambassador and director of Total Gymnastics, an academy with more than 1,200 children taking part in the programme.
She said she got as much as a buzz from training young people as she did performing in competitions.
"When a child suddenly gets a movement they look up to you and their eyes light up, that moment alone makes it worthwhile," said Tweddle.
With the 2016 Olympics, to be held in Rio, a year away, Tweddle says she retired in the knowledge she was leaving Team GB in safe hands.
She said: "I felt like I could walk away from the competitions because there is so much young talent coming through.
"Who knows what can happen in Rio, we have so much talent and potential.
"We will just have to see what happens on the day."
Kelly O'Donnell, head of PE at William Allitt, said: "I do think it is so special when they can come to events like this.
"She started off doing gymnastics in school so a lot of kids can relate.
"We have quite a few national and regional gymnasts so I would like to think they could go on to achieve similar feats to Beth. As long as they try their very best, that is all we can ask for."