Northampton's young trampolining talent receive royal visitor to celebrate county's Olympic medal-winning coach

HRH, the Princess Royal, arrives by helicopter to the Benham Sports Arena.

HRH, the Princess Royal, arrives by helicopter to the Benham Sports Arena.

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Northampton was sprung with a royal visitor today (May 8) to celebrate the town's success in training Olympic trampolinists.

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, arrived by helicopter to Benham Sports Arena, Moulton Park, Northampton, to commemorate the work of Northampton's own Olympic medal-winning coach, Tracy Whittaker-Smith.

The centre's young display teams put on a show for the Princess Royal.

The centre's young display teams put on a show for the Princess Royal.

She watched a display by the teams of the Northamptonshire Trampoline Gymnastics Academy (NTGA) and Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs (NAYC), which included a performance by Britain's number-one trampolinist and Northamptonshire local, Kat Driscoll.

Princess Anne unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of an expansion to the centre and, in a speech to the gymnasts, said: "Thank you for performing today and for the example you set for other young people.

"Events like this at this centre are an inspiration for others and it's wonderful to be here to celebrate it with you."

Head coach at the purpose-built Northampton Trampoline Centre, Tracy Whittaker-Smith, was at the centre of the celebrations for leading Great Britain to its first-ever Olympic medal trampolinist last year at the Rio 2016, when Bryony Page took silver in the Women's event.

The Princess Royal meets Benham Sports Arena's special skills team, who work with young people with learning and physical disabilities.

The Princess Royal meets Benham Sports Arena's special skills team, who work with young people with learning and physical disabilities.

Tracy Whittaker-Smith, NTGA and Great Britain Head Coach, said: "This is the perfect way to kick-off our 40-year celebrations and helps to show how trampolining has gone from strength-to-strength in the county since we opened our doors in 1977.

“The club has had tremendous success in that time; producing Olympic gymnasts and international medal-winning trampolinists. We’re also proud to cater for thousands of recreational gymnasts every year and hundreds of special needs children and adults. No matter what level people aspire to or disability they may have, NTGA is a club for all and we’re extremely proud to serve the county in multiple ways.”

Mayor of Northampton Christopher Malpas said: "It's a privilege to be here to represent the town and be introduced to the Princess Royal. We've got one of the best facilities for trampolining in the country as we proved in the Olympics, and that's something to be very proud of."

The Princess Royal also unveiled a plaque to open an expansion to the arena.

The Princess Royal also unveiled a plaque to open an expansion to the arena.

A young trampolinist shows off her skills.

A young trampolinist shows off her skills.