Words and Photography by Leanne Magill

Sixteen years ago when Heather attended her first gymnastics lesson the seed was planted for a dream to grow.
Being a member of British Gymnastics, Heather worked hard as a student in training and competing, which then led onto judging and coaching.


She dreamt of her own gymnastics club. One that would provide a service to the children of our local community which would help build confidence through achievement. A club which would teach children that hard work and dedication pays off when they can finally achieve that crab bend or splits after much practise all the while having fun and socialising.

‘Watching my Gymnasts, from our littlest baby swinging on the bar to our mini Gymnasts walking along the beam and to our Teen Gymnasts achieving their backflip – it’s the most rewarding job and I love it.’

Although Heather didn’t know when or how she would be able to open her own club, she recognised the steps required and prepared herself gaining all the relevant qualifications keeping consistent to her goal.
You see, having dreams and knowing how to goal set is a very powerful tool that can put you on a path that leads to success.

‘The opportunity finally came up to complete the course that enabled me to open my own club – all I’ve ever wanted to do and the best decision I’ve ever made!

Heather opened Twist and Splits Gymnastics at The Bracken Centre in Kilkeel just a year ago on the 25th July 2016, but tells me the planning and research spanned right back another six months beforehand.
‘When I first decided to open up own gym I knew it was a MASSIVE risk and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my best friend and for that I’ll be forever grateful’.

Heather’s Vision for her students –
“‍️Your gymnastics class should be the BEST hour of your week and it’s MY job to make sure this happens! ️”

‘Owning a business has its ups and downs, as every business does but watching a gymnast finally get that skill they’ve been practising for weeks just knocks everything out of the water and it is totally worth every obstacle that comes my way’.

You know one of the biggest myths out there is that you have to be confident to be successful,  but the reality is that fear and self doubt will always be your friend when taking on a new challenge. It’s re-programming your mind to think back to your ‘why’ am I doing this. Focus on the WHYS and it will really help unearth whats unique about you.

Talking to Heather about her obstacles so far, she has found the following:
‘I’m working for the hardest boss – myself.
I am one of those “I can do it myself” kind of people and a bit of a perfectionist so that’s a tough one but I am learning and will continue to learn every day.’
‘Another obstacle I have to over come every day is that I can do this and I am capable, even though I’m only just me, and yes it’s hard, sometimes really hard but I am doing the best I can’.

Heather adds that she couldn’t have got through this last year without her three fantastic coaches Christine, Danielle and Jenna.
I’ve read somewhere before teamwork described as ‘individual commitment to a group effort’. When you have a great team around you, success multiplies as people work together to achieve and accomplish much more than they could on their own. But it also makes the job alot more fun when you have the right team around you and that is just as important.

Heather we are all very proud of you and delighted you are providing a service that our local kids can go and have fun while building strength and character.

Many you continue on achieving your dreams xx