GYMNASTS in the North East have been heartbroken once again after their equipment was ruined by flooding.

Northern Hope Gymnastics, which includes a member of Team GB, regularly suffers water damage if there is a downpour.

Recent rainfall proved once again the drains at the venue in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street cannot cope with the volume of water.

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Lynn Hope, head coach and director, said: “It was last Tuesday during the heavy rain and we popped in to check.

“It was ankle deep in water

“We get rain in every year. This is the worst it has ever been. It was right down the gym. I phoned up the property management company and was crying down the phone it was so bad.

“There is thousands of pounds worth of damage. We have put claims in from our insurance but the premiums have rocketed up.”

The club has 400 members, aged two to 18, and has been at the premises for nine years.

Tumbler Isaac Bennison, 16, from Thornaby, who trains at the club has just been selected to represent Great Britain at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Mrs Hope said: “The kids have just got on with it but, obviously, we had to close the gym for a week because it is flooded.

“We would always welcome support from sponsors, and we are taking part in the Metro Radio Cash For Kids campaign so if people want to support us in that it will help the club and kids in the region as well.”

Mrs Hope is now calling on the owners of the building, Mileway, to help them prevent future flooding.

The Northern Echo has contacted the company for a comment.

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