Here are some details of the amazing 2017 event:
1st and 2nd April 2017 was a record breaking Sports Coaching Weekend for Devizes Lions when well over 500 children aged from 8 to 13 from twenty two local schools applied to try out a sport that they might not otherwise experience. Nineteen sports with qualified coaches were were on offer.  
We are enormously grateful to the Devizes Area Board for its financial support this year that has helped us keep the cost of participation at an affordable level.
After 29 years of the event, many parents and some of the coaches recall enjoying the experience when they were youngsters. 
For the first time the Urchfont Clay Pigeon Club was making its sport available.  It attracted massive interest, and over a quarter of the children applied for it. In the event, and forty of the youngsters were lucky enough to try it out.  
Another sport that is always always over-subscribed is the mountain biking where children learn skills on the first day and then put them to use on the mud and dirt of the tracks outside the town.
Not surprisingly there have been many messages of appreciation from parents and children.  Viv Kyte of Devizes, whose daughter Louise took part, said:
"Thank you for a wonderful sporting weekend. My daughter loved the Adventurous Activities and would love to do it again! A lot of organisation involved and hard work for all concerned but very much appreciated by parents and children alike. It was great to see children who had never met before working as a team."
As usual, there is every sign that some of the children will take up their new sports. Lion Jerry King, one of the organisers said
"The event is one of the most complicated and time-consuming that we organise. However, like the coaches who come back year after year, we find that it is also one of the most rewarding."

Here are a few more of the nice comments we have received following this year's event:

"Thank you for a wonderful sporting weekend. My daughter loved the Adventurous Activities and would love to do it again! A lot of organisation involved and hard work for all concerned but very much appreciated by parents and children alike. It was great to see children who had never met before working as a team. Thanks again."  " (VK)

"A huge thank you to all of you for organising the Lions Club Sporting Weekend. My daughter Amelia had a great time trying out archery for the first time. We might have a budding Robina Hood on our hands 😀"  (D A-R)

"I would like to say a huge thank you to the Lions Club (and all the coaches) for yet another fab sports weekend. Such a great opportunity and experience for the children of Devizes. 🏸🏹🤺🚣"  (AH)

"We had horse riding this weekend, my daughter loved it! Thanks to the Lions club!"  (SH)

Former Sports Coaching participant, Polly Maton from Devizes was selected to represent Great Britain at the Rio Paralympics and competed in the 100 metres and Long Jump.  

This is what she has to say:

"Hello, My name is Polly Maton and I just wanted to say a quick thank you for organising the trial sports weekends you do in the local area for primary school students. I went to Urchfont Church of England Primary School and, in I believe year 5, I chose to do athletics as one of my activities. At the weekend I met my coach who has now worked with me for at least 5 years and last month I found out I was selected for the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. I have no idea whether I would have found my coach or even my passion for athletics without giving it a go through one of your courses in primary school and thank you so much for the opportunity to try various activities.  Thank you,  Polly Maton"

You can find more details here:  Polly Maton profile  and Gazette and Herald article and also Games_success_delights_Devizes_coach.

And....this is what we did last year ......

On Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March 2016 Devizes Lions held their popular Sports Coaching Weekend where children in school year groups 4,5,6,7 and 8 are invited to try one of a number of sports that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience with tuition provided by qualified coaches. 

Many of those involved will already be well familiar with the format: some children return to try something new, and some parents and instructors have tried their own sports first with the Lions. One such coach was Hamish Devon of Hillier Road, Devizes who is also Chairman of Devizes Badminton Club.  He first participated when he was a 10 year old at Rowde School and now teaches at Wansdyke School. 

We received many comments including this email.

"Just wanted to reiterate what a fabulous time my girls had this afternoon. They both came home absolutely elated having had the most fantastic afternoon. They did things they had never done before with what was clearly an expert and encouraging team of instructors. To see them pushed beyond their normal boundaries and explore their capabilities is a great thing, thank you for giving them the opportunity to experience this."
We hope to see you again next year!


Sue Ross posted on Facebook:

"My daughter has come back from a canoeing session, with Don Jones 's autograph!

Seriously, a huge thank you and well done to Devizes Lions for organising their sports weekend again. My girls have respectively canoed and played badminton. It's a fantastic opportunity for our youngsters to try their hand at something new, or at something that their parents might not otherwise be able to afford for them to do."


Archery is always popular, and the local club, Devizes Bowmen, has for years provided strong support to the Lions' weekend.  

Some of the children who tried their hands at archery, pictured with the Lions Club President David Bousfield,
Devizes Bowman Steve Davies and, in the foreground, Joe Gurr who provided some of the instruction.

Last year advice was also provided by one of their junior members, Joe Gurr of Devizes as he approached his twelfth birthday.  Only two years ago Joe was one of the children trying out archery for the first time, and since then he has made rapid progress. He has won a number of local competitions, become classified as a Bowman by Archery GB, is a member of the Junior County Team and holds two county and a regional record.

Lions Club President David Bousfield congratulates Joe Gurr on his archery achievements 

The Lions visit 22 local schools to talk to about the sports, and it is hugely rewarding that over a quarter of the children took up the offer last year.  The skills and kindness of the coaches and the enthusiasm of the youngsters make it a very special weekend in the Lions calendar.

This is what some of the parents and participants have said:

My daughter did horse riding and loved it so much she now wants lessons looks like we need to start saving lol x
Laura B

It's all great news people! More then 500 kids took a part in sport weekend this year - I know, because I asked... I can see so many advantages, not only fun some of them will continue, for some of them it was perhaps the only opportunity to try some sports, more sport - better health! More 'inspired' kids - more 'sporty' adults in the future! All voluntary job by Lions Club, how amazing!
Asia K

A happy judo inspired boy in our house too thank you Devizes Lions.
Charlotte A

Yes a big thank you to the lions club, my daughter also enjoyed her two days of trampolining, she already planning what she wants to do next year.
Tina B

My daughter had a brilliant time at the archery yesterday and today. Such a well organised and affordable event. Well done to all who helped organise it.
Chrissie A

Fantastic that for £6 the children get to try something new on two days.
Sue R

My son did the table tennis and really enjoyed it, he's already talking about what he'd like to do next year!
Sarah B


Adventurous Activities at Braeside are for those who enjoy an adrenaline rush.  The low ropes course involves climbing around a ship-like course without falling 'overboard'.  High ropes involve wearing safety harnesses as it's all pretty high, but can you think, communicate and remain coordinated at that level?  Have you the courage to jump for the trapeze bar?  (Challenge by choice - no one is forced to).


Archery is a great sport and can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, gender, ability or disability.  Being able to accurately and safely shoot a bow is a skill that requires discipline, high levels of concentration and self-confidence.  Experience the thrill of drawing a bow, aiming and hitting your target with coaching from Devizes Bowmen.

Athletics gives you a chance to try all athletics disciplines: hammer, javelin, discus, hurdles, jumps, sprints, long distance and relay.  Learning the basic techniques required with an emphasis on fun.

Badminton is claimed to be the fastest racquet sport and is played throughout the world.  It is fun, helps to keep you fit, and is enjoyable at any age or level of ability.  It is played indoors, so bad weather doesn't interfere with your game.  Finally, Badminton is a very civilised sport - you bash a shuttle, not your opponent!

Canoeing.  Have a taster and learn the basics of canoeing.  Going forward, backwards, sideways, around corners, emergency stops, staying afloat etc. and also have some fun playing games using the strokes learned.  The coach has been a BCU Canoeing Instructor for 30+ years and has run various courses, including for the Lions, for over 10 years.  You can then join a local canoe club!

Clay Pigeon Shooting.  NEW FOR 2017. Clay Pigeon Shooting is a safe sport in the right environment with qualified instructors.  Learn how to shoot the gun safely, then have a go shooting at the clays which are discs made from clay  (not a live birds or rabbits!). You will need stout shoes and warm clothes (waterproof jacket if wet).  All other equipment will be supplied.

Fencing is the fastest growing sport in the UK. In the age of chivalry, duelling was favoured as a method of settling matters of honour, because of its grace & simplicity.  These remain the most attractive aspects of the sport today, developing all round fitness, flexibility of movement, stamina, mental agility, co-ordination, balance & self-confidence.  It’s great fun learning to duel.

Golf is a sport where you don’t have to be big, strong or fast to be successful.  The traits of successful players are: patience, persistence, skilled practice and focused ability.  It promotes a spirit of friendly competition and relies on honesty and courtesy.  Overall, golf is a game in which to make friends and is one to be enjoyed for a lifetime. 

Gymnastics is a safe, enjoyable and challenging sport that offers opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.  It has something for everyone, providing a wide range of movement experiences for participants and spectators while providing the opportunity to focus on fun, fitness, friendship and fundamentals.

Hockey is a fast and fun team game, where you use sticks and a plastic ball to score goals.  It is now played on artificial pitches, which makes it even faster and more exciting.  Come and learn the skills you need to play the game.  Your local club is Devizes, with a great Junior section.

Horse Riding.  The two hour session will include an hour of riding in the indoor school and an hour of pony care which gives children a chance to get a hands-on insight into the daily care routines of our ponies. As with all sports coaching activities, the aim is to introduce children to new sports, so please do not ask to take part if you are already familiar with riding.

Judo is one of the world's most widely practised Olympic and Paralympic sports and showcases breath-taking throws and ground fighting techniques as competitors illustrate why they are among the best conditioned athletes in the world.  Our qualified coaches will teach you coordination, balance and agility, and if you want to be the best we will show you how.


Mountain Biking.  There is truly nothing like mountain biking: feeling the earth underneath your tyres and the wind around your head. It connects us to nature, keeps us fit and always puts a smile on our faces. Those are some simple reasons why the sport is great.  Bring your mountain bike for training on Saturday, followed by cross-country on Sunday: it’s a great way to start.

Poolside Diving is offered to children who can swim at least 25 metres and who are confident in deep water.  They will be introduced through progressive water and poolside exercises to jump and dive into the water.  They will learn straight, tucked, piked, somersaulting and twisting positions in the water to gain confidence to enjoy diving.

Synchronised Swimming used to be known as ‘water ballet’.  Swimmers with 100 metres plus will learn how to put basic sculls, strokes and moves together to form a routine.  Synchronised swimming is a very strenuous and skilful sport because competitors need strength and flexibility to perform the routines, as well as rhythm and flair to synchronise and interpret the music.

Table Tennis is an Olympic sport, and one of the world’s fastest games.  It is a “Sport for Life” and played and enjoyed by people of all ages.  Come along and try it, with the help of our experienced table tennis coaches.

Tae Kwon-Do is a fun and energetic class aiming to put the fun back into physical fitness. Tae Kwon-Do can help children and teenagers with their fitness, confidence, co-ordination, discipline, and importantly, self-defence whilst having fun whilst they learn.   It is an excellent supplement to other sports.

Trampolining.  Want to try something different and stand out from the crowd?  While anyone can begin and jump on a trampoline, high level trampolining requires strength, stamina and skill.  It is a fantastic sport for keeping fit and good for posture and balance and is a really fun way of exercising. It is also an Olympic sport.

Volleyball is a great sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.  It can be played year round both indoors and outdoors and has many benefits: it burns calories and improves muscle strength and tone, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and balance.  Last but not least, volleyball teaches teamwork and communication and is a great social activity.

The Lions Club reserves the right to cancel any sport due to insufficient numbers or other unforeseen circumstances.

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