About Us Meet the Team

Karl Wharton

Academy Director & International Performance Coach

Director of DGA and former International athlete, Karl started coaching aged 17 at Esh Winning Gymnastics Club. He is the founder member of our very own Academy at Deerness.

Karl is an International Performance Coach, former British Gymnastics National Coach, Team GB Coach and International Brevet Judge – First Category.  He is a technical committee member of the Federation International De Gymnastique (FIG) and a World Expert for the FIG Coaching Academy. Karl is a Master Coach and was awarded the first ever International Coaching Brevet for acrobatic gymnastics by the FIG in 2011.

Did you know: Karl is also an expert in keeping poultry and used to have hundreds of chickens, ducks, geese, bantams, quails, and rare breeds of pheasants!


Stuart Thompson

Acrobatics High Performance Coach


Vicki Copeland

Acrobatics High Performance Coach


Katie Lawton

High Performance Coach

As a former International Acrobatic, Katie first joined Deerness in 1990. After representing GB on 10 occasions and taking 3 European medals, she retired as a performer in 2002. Katie took up coaching with the club in 2005 and qualified as a High Performance Coach in 2009. She has worked with several NDP British Champions as well as 11-16 International performers. Katie is a brevet judge and has judged at World and European Events.


Richard Hurst

Club Coach & International Gymnast


Diane Belchamber

Diane has been with the club for 17 years and is a High Performance Coach. Diane use to play for Sunderland AFC ladies section.





Find out more about our Tumbling Coaches