I am the Director of Chiswick Lacrosse. I taught for 36 years, 34 of those years were at St James. I retired in 2010 and now live on a small-holding in Pembrokeshire (Brynderi)
Though I didn’t qualify in sport it did become a huge part of my life. Apart from running St James Lacrosse and then Chiswick Lacrosse I also set up and ran Hammersmith Gym Club which ran for about 9 years.
Apart from bringing up 4 children, I also got heavily involved in fundraising at St James. I organised sponsored events on May Day Bank Holidays and helped raise about £125000 across 6 years. I also organised and fund raised for 3 Lacrosse tours of the USA, the first of which we were unbeaten and it cost each girl just £100 the rest was donated!
I am a firm believer in sport being fun and accessible to as many as possible. In the early days of St James we had 80% participation in lacrosse teams, because of its size many players had to play in more than one team.. Hopefully this enjoyment come through in Chiswick Lacrosse Camps.
As her name implies Jessica is my daughter. She has been involved in the camp for 22 years, 7 as a player and 15 as a coach. She now runs the coaching team, with her sister Ella, which involves mentoring the new coaches and making sure that the rest of the coaching team are happy, up to speed and coping with their group effectively.
Jessica is a level 2 coach and is also a qualified Occupational Therapist, she was working in a special needs school up to taking maternity leave for her two children.
Co Head Coach
My youngest daughter has also been involved for a long time in the camp, 9 years as a player, having had her introduction at age 7!!, and 9 years as a coach. She is a meticulous organiser and mentor for the coaching team. The year before last she had to step in for some of the time as both assistant and head coach as Jessica was ill for a couple of days. Ella not only coped she ran the under 12’s (about 120 girls) superbly.
She has just completed a Drawing degree at Falmouth gaining a First. She has currently gone ‘walkabout’ in NZ and Southern Africa, but assures me she will be back for next August’s camp
Chiswick Lacrosse Club evolved out of ‘St James Lacrosse’, which was started in 1989 to help raise the ability and morale of a small school so that they could compete with some of the larger schools. Over the years we achieved some notable results. U15 National finalists in 1998, semifinalists in 1990, Small Schools champions twice and runners-up 3 times. U14 8 aside champions (at Berkhamstead) in 2004, U12 runners-up in 2002.
In the early days of ‘St James Lacrosse’ we had half the senior girls turning out for the one week camp, about 60 on average. Then in 2000 I decided to open the event out to all schools and Chiswick Lacrosse was born. We also extended the event to 2 weeks. When I retired from St James School we extended the camps still further to 3 weeks, we now average just under 400 girls each year (nearly 500 in 2015 when we ran 4 weeks because of where the Bank Holiday fell)
We also started running coaches courses, first Level 1 and umpiring, then in 2012 we started Level 2 courses. These used to be run by the ELA as from 2016 we run them ourselves. Most of the candidates have been girls who came to the camp and when they got to 16 turned their attention to qualifications and earning money! We offer a unique opportunity for the girls to not only to do the theory course but also to stay on at the camp the following week when they are mentored through to the assessment at the end of the week, so they complete the course and qualification all in the one week. The same service is there for the Level 2 candidates.
We now have over 200 level 1Coaches to call on and some 50 Level 2 as well, with experience from school teams through to National Team players.
Our two head coaches now have over years of experience both in running the camp and in mentoring the coaches through to a successful assessment.
The girls who come to play or coach tell me: 1. It is ‘The friendly Camp’ 2. The most enjoyable 3. The cheapest 4. The coaches get paid more