IT’S not very often that you find yourself on a list of awards winners alongside former Ajax, Barcelona and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.

But that’s just what happened to a young gymnastics coach from Somerset this week.

Amy Moulton, the head coach at Spirit Acro Gymnastics Club in Yeovil, turned the small, under-performing club into a successful gymnastics programme, and was duly named Young Coach of the Year at this year’s UK Coaching Awards.

The prestigious annual celebration of outstanding coaching, which showcases the diverse work of coaches, projects and organisations making a difference to the health and happiness of the nation, was held virtually on Thursday, 3 December.

Moulton went above and beyond in 2020, to keep her young gymnasts active and engaged, starting a YouTube channel for the club, which was absolutely invaluable during the lockdowns.

The 24-year-old is a true role model, inspiring more youngsters to coach, and she has also secured funding for coaching qualifications for the club.

Reacting to the news, Moulton said: “It was incredible that me [and fellow Spirit coach Issy Haigh] were both nominated. We weren’t expecting it.

“And then for us both to make the final as well was just unreal!

“The beginning of the year was the most successful year we’ve ever had as a club, so it was amazing, and then obviously we went into lockdown and we just really had to battle through it. But we’re ready to face 2021.”

Reflecting on this year’s awards, UK Coaching’s director of coaching Emma Atkins said: “Our heartfelt congratulations to Amy, and all of our winners and finalists.

“What you’ve all achieved in this extremely difficult year is superb.

“You and the rest of the three million coaches in the UK have gone beyond the call of duty to make sure your participants didn’t lose momentum with their sport and physical activity goals and ambitions or weren’t isolated from the social side of activity.

“You realised that for your participants, and indeed yourselves, coaching and staying active isn’t just a hobby or a past-time, it’s a way of life that deeply affects mental and physical well-being.

“We applaud you for your efforts, your inspirational resilience and the way you conducted yourself without fuss or fanfare.”

Among the other winners on the night was Dutch football manager Van Gaal, who was recognised as part of the ‘Coaching Chain’ of Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford, alongside Colin Little, Dave Bushell, David Horrocks, Eamon Mulvey, Maria Kelly, Neil Harris, Paul McGuinness, Stuart Leicester, Tarun Kapur and Tony Whelan.