VETERAN trampoline coach Howard Tear is still hitting the heights after guiding a team of college students through to the final of the National Schools Championships.
The experienced coach at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton has been inspiring young trampolinists there since 1978 when it was known as Hill College.
He spoke of his pride in seeing Niamh Buckell, Tegan Tesch, Victoria Baynes and Kessia Gale reach the intermediate final at the championships in Macclesfield. William Lynch also won through to the individual final.
Although both the girls’ team and William ended the day in ninth place Howard said the experience had been invaluable and there was still plenty to be proud of.
“We must remember that they are all in the first year of training with the college and we’re the youngest guest competitors in the year 11 to 14 category,” said Howard. “I think better things will come next year and hopefully they will be able to better deal with competition nerves.”
Howard, who has also assisted the Philippines national trampolining team after travelling there with his wife Loretta, has long been a champion of the sport in the city. The former head of PE at St George’s Catholic College formed the Southampton Trampoline Club there in 1972.
He brought the club to Richard Taunton when he joined the staff, turning up with two trampolines in a trailer. The club was so successful he was given funding for more trampolines and then raised more money to end up with 14. In 2001 he launched the Richard Taunton Trampoline Academy for students.
The trampoline club outgrew the college and moved to Places Leisure Centre in Eastleigh in 2014.
Now Howard coaches trampolining at the academy for nine hours a week at the college, as well as two hours of basketball and has no intention of retiring.
Richard Taunton principal Paul Swindale said: “We are so fortunate to have someone of Howard’s reputation here. We are the only college in the country to have a trampoline academy and the success of the students in reaching the National Schools Championships is a testament to his dedication and their determination, we are very proud of them.
“Having all of this experience and expertise is another good reason for anyone who loves the sport to study their A-levels at Richard Taunton.”