When Jan Davies talks about running her B&B and smallholding, you begin to wonder whether she has superhuman powers to make more hours in a day. Why? Because for the past 31 years, she has also dedicated herself to developing Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Wales.
One of her sons, Gareth, showed particular interest in the sport at the age of eight – and so began Jan’s extensive voluntary career. She started coaching, devoting virtually every evening and weekend to cultivating local talent:
“It was hectic but I loved coaching the boys, it gave me such an enormous sense of satisfaction when they did well.”
She was also the driving force behind a successful Big Lottery Fund application, which led to the creation of the Wrexham Olympics Gymnastics Club, providing the community with first-class facilities and equipment.
Whilst Gareth’s early promise translated into an impressive sporting track record, including a hat-trick of appearances at the Commonwealth Games, Jan also took her skills to the next level as she became a qualified judge.
She now spends most weekends judging, with her busy itinerary taking her across the UK, Europe and sometimes even further afield. Over the past year alone she has given up her time to judge at more than 40 events, including the Island Games, Special Olympics, Disability, Regional and Local competitions.
She is the Primary Welsh Men’s Artistic judge for the Commonwealth Games and has been selected for many GB Internationals. She is also one of only two qualified Men’s Artistic Brevet judges within Wales.
Jan has invested her experience as a judge back into the sport. At training camps across the country, she spends hours helping gymnasts hone their routines, ensuring they are technically correct and capable of achieving the best scores. She also plays a vital role in the Judge Development Programme that Welsh Gymnastics launched to encourage and develop new judges within Wales. Through Jan’s dedication and passion the pool of judges has increased by 138%.
“Through judging I have been able to see young talent develop over time, I was watching Louis Smith and Brinn Bevan back when they were only eight years old!”
She offers this advice to anyone thinking of volunteering in sport: “Just go for it! You will get so much out of it. It’s not just the sport but also the friends you make and the chance to meet like-minded people from across the world.”