AN APPEAL has been launched in a bid to raise more than £2,000 to help out 90 budding gymnasts.

The Dunbar Gym Monkeys and gymnastics classes have been running in the town’s Bleachingfield Centre for the past six years.

The group, which caters for youngsters aged from 18 months and 14 years, had previously used equipment on a long-term loan from Saltire Team Gymnastics at Meadowmill.

However, due to Saltire’s expansion, the equipment had to be returned just before Christmas, which resulted in the Dunbar classes taking place with little equipment.

Now Jillian Givan, Dunbar head coach; Jo McNamara, Bleachingfield Centre manager; and a group of parents have come together to launch a fundraising drive to replace the equipment and, in the longer-term, buy other apparatus to broaden the young gymnasts’ training.

Already, East Lothian Council has provided £3,000 to help buy some mats, which has enabled classes to resume.

Now fundraising is beginning to collect a further £2,100 to replace the equipment.

Mrs Givan told the Courier: “The classes are extremely popular, with around 90 children participating each week and an additional significant number on our waiting lists.

“The classes enable children to gain a good grounding in gymnastics without busy parents having to take them further afield – training which eventually enables our most talented older children to progress on to clubs within the region and competitions.

“We have been very fortunate to have had access to Saltire’s equipment. However, we need to replace that as soon as possible otherwise we will continue to be extremely restricted in terms of what we can offer within our classes.

“In the coming months we will be running a series of fundraising initiatives which we hope will be supported by the local community. This will include a sponsored gymnastics marathon and half marathon, bake sale and tombola on Friday, March 3.”

The fundraiser will see the youngsters cross the full length of the floor using 13 or 26 gymnastics skills or methods.

Ashley Quinn, who has two children at the classes, said: “Both my children love their classes and coaches and I have really noticed the benefits of them taking part.

“Like other parents, I was extremely concerned when I heard that we would be losing the majority of the equipment. We are determined to do what we can to help replace it as soon as possible.”

To support the group, go to mentcommittee.