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Devizes Lions
Chartered 1970 (District 105SC)

Devizes Lions Club (CIO) is a Registered Charity No.1185977

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Sports Coaching Weekend 2022
Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April 2022

Our Sports Coaching Weekend is over for another year. Over 250 children took part and to see the smiles on their faces when they finished their sessions made all the months of hard work worthwhile.
Here are just a few of the comments we have received:

Just wanted to say a big thank you to the coaches and volunteers who helped with the sports coaching weekend. My son really loved the athletics. It must have taken a lot of time to organise it all.
Many thanks


Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for the sports coaching weekend. My son is year 6 and it was his first time due to lockdown and then being away last year. He absolutely loved the canoeing. My husband said he had the biggest smile on his face that he has ever seen. My year 4 daughter loved gymnastics and is so pleased that she has managed to learn how to do a handstand against the wall. It was fantastic for both of them so thank you so much for all the effort that must go into organising it.


I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the amazing variety of sports sessions that were on offer last weekend.
My daughter was overjoyed to receive confirmation of her 1st choice and had a thoroughly enjoyable morning at Dauntsey school last Saturday learning more about Athletics.
Thank you to all involved, she can't wait for next year.
Many thanks and kind regards

Thanks for those kind words and to the coaches, volunteers and everyone who supported the event that helped make it such a success.
Thank you all

Click on the poster to download a copy you can print and pin to your wall.

We were delighted to be able to run this popular weekend again this year.  It was open to children in school year groups 4, 5 and 6 who were invited to try one of several different sports that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.

Our aim to offer “taster sessions” in sports that children may not have tried before.  We will have qualified, insured and DBS checked coaches for the following activities: 

Adventurous Activities, Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Canoeing, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Poolside Diving, Artistic Swimming, Table Tennis, Sword Fencing, Trampolining and Volleyball.

Scroll down to find out more about the activities or click here: Activities.  

Lions will be visiting schools to make presentations to year 4, 5 and 6 students in the first two weeks of February.  If you miss the presentation for COVID or other reasons, you can download a copy of the PowerPoint presentaion from here to view at home:


APPLICATION FORMS will be available from your school during the first two weeks of February or can be dowloaded here:


We are asking for a standard contribution of £10 per child with each application form.

Parents can either return their printed copy with cash or cheque in a sealed envelope to schools as in previous years or they can pay by BACS and email the form to the Devizes Lions directly at

The deadline for Applications is 16th February. Applications submitted after that date will not be processed.

We will notify parents of the activity offered to their children by the 15th March.

If you have any last minute queries or problems, you can contact us on line at


Devizes Lions acknowledge the generous support given by the Devizes Area Board of Wiltshire Council towards this event.



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This is what we did last year:

Last Year's Sports Coaching Weekend was held on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June 2021.

Once again, the weekend has provided special experiences for 250 local children who could each could try an activity that they might not normally encounter.  This year the event was slimmed down to take account of Covid restrictions, but the children aged eight to eleven could still choose between golf, volleyball, athletics, canoeing, archery, adventurous activities, poolside diving, and  synchronised swimming.  

Some of the archery children with their medals presented by the Devizes Bowmen at the end of their session. 

All of the children at Braeside Education Centre were able to face the challenge of the thirty-foot climbing wall.

The high ropes at Braeside Education Centre were probably the most adventurous of the Adventurous Activities.

The Lions have been running these events for over thirty years, and they have always been popular.  In some cases this year the children's parents had themselves enjoyed Lions Sports Coaching sessions when young.  Often children have gone on to develop a long-lasting love of their new sports, sometimes competing at county and national level, and in at least one case at the Paralympics.


 Devizes Canoe Club introduced children to a range of different craft at their base in Devizes.
Some fell in!

These are just some of the comments we have received:

Hi Devizes Lions & Braeside Team
I quick email to say thank you for arranging the sport coaching sessions over the weekend.  My daughter attended the Adventurous Activities at Braeside on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who gave up their time and put in so much hard work to make put on the great sessions for the children.  It is very much appreciated.  Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved.
Many thanks, Andy
Hi Jerry,
Ciaran had an amazing time and loved every minute of the experience, so much so we are in process of joining the Archery Club
Thanks again for your hard work in organising the weekend, it’s lovely to think we are going back to some normality. 
Kind regards
Hi thanks very much for Abigail Kelly's synchronised swimming session on Sunday. She absolutely loved it, and hasn't stopped talking about it since! Thanks to all of you for such a well organised activity,  we were really impressed.
Best regards 
Thank you, and for a wonderful experience for the children.
It’s been a difficult year, these events are always very welcome and a great opportunity, this year more than ever. A big thing I have found is children overcoming the fear of seeing people/new faces, and feeling ok again around larger groups. Of course the other key aspects of courage, confidence building, team work etc are still relevant but some new aspects taken a hopefully temporary priority this year.
Thank you again, very much appreciated the work, commitment and positivity you put into these events
Hilary                                 (Adventurous Activities, from Pewsey)

From a coach
Please pass our thanks to everyone who helps run these days., and a massive thanks to you for all your organising.  As usual you have given so many opportunities to so many children. 
From Parents
My daughter, Millie  attended the Athletics coaching this morning at Devizes School. She had a great morning and would like to come along to the Athletics Club the coach mentioned. All she can remember is that it's on a Wednesday evening, please could you give me some more information?
Thank you so much for today, my daughter had a wonderful time. Thank you to everyone who put the effort in to arrange this, it is much appreciated.
Dear “All Lions” involved today,
Just a short email to say a very big thank you to you all for giving your time today and helping our children sample some fun activities.
My daughters were involved in the canoeing and adventurous activities and both absolutely loved it. We’re so lucky to have this opportunity for our children, it’s hugely appreciated. We didn’t thank everyone as we left, so please could you pass on our grateful thanks?
I just wanted to say how much my daughter enjoyed archery on Saturday morning.
Thank you very much to all concerned, we really do appreciate it!
I am the mother of Finley, he attended archery this morning and thoroughly enjoyed himself.  We are making enquires with the Devizes Bowman's to sign Finley up to the club. Thank you for organising this event.
Thank you for organising the event today, it was fantastic and Nathaniel really enjoyed it!

My daughters were involved in the canoeing and adventurous activities and both absolutely loved it. We’re so lucky to have this opportunity for our children.

Another wrote, .... had an amazing time and loved every minute of the experience, so much so that we are in process of joining the Club.  It’s lovely to think we are going back to some normality.


We are very sorry that Devizes Lions decided to cancel Sports Coaching weekend on the 4th and 5th April 2020 and postpone the 2021 event to June as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We know that the children expecting to participate were disappointed and we can only say how sorry we are to have had to make this decision.

Our main concern is and remains for the health and wellbeing of the participants, their parents, their families, the coaches, helpers and indeed ourselves, many of whom fall into the group who are 'most at risk' from this illness. Having considered these factors, we reached the conclusion that we had no alternative but to cancel the event.

But Here's the Good News:

Things are brightening, and we now think that we should be able to offer children a reduced programme on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June where venues permit and the sports coaches are happy to participate. Making greater use of electronic methods will reduce our physical contact with schools and families during the preparation.

On this occasion this popular weekend will be open to children in school year groups 4, 5 and 6 only who will be invited to try one of several different sports that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. Tuition will be provided by qualified coaches.

There will be a reduced number of activities on offer this year.  These are:

On Saturday 5th June:
Adventurous Activities; Archery; Athletics; Canoeing; Golf; Sword Fencing and Volleyball.  
On Sunday 6th June:
Poolside Diving and Synchronised Swimming.
Click on each event to find out more or simply browse the Background to the Activities.

Devizes Lions acknowledge the generous support given by the Devizes Area Board of Wiltshire Council towards this event.


You can download a copy of the poster here to print and pin to your wall: Sports Coaching 2021 Poster.
You can download a copy of the slide presentation here: SC21PowerPointV5Auto.pptx


And this is what we did in 2019: 2019 Sports Coaching Weekend.


The 2019 Sports Coaching weekend was held on 
6th and 7th April.

On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April 2019 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 22 different sports that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. Tuition was all provided by qualified coaches.  

We offered these 3 new activities in 2019:
Basketball, Squash and Target shooting, all of which proved to be extremely popular.

Letters to applicants advising of them of which activities they have been offered will be posted early in March 2019.

Please remember to return your applications for our Sports Coaching weekend to your school by Friday 1st February at the latest!

Please note that application forms will NOT be available from schools until January 2019.

You can download a copy of the poster here: Poster

To view an application form click here: Application Form

For background to the Activities, please click here: Activities

To learn about previous years' events and read some of the appreciative comments we have received, please click here:
2018   2017   2016


Sports Coaching weekend
24th and 25th March 2018
It was a another record breaking Sports Coaching Weekend for Devizes Lions when well over 580 children aged from 8 to 13 from twenty two local schools tried out a sport that they might not otherwise experience. Nineteen sports with qualified coaches were on offer.  
After 30 years of the event, many parents and some of the coaches recall enjoying the experience when they were youngsters! 

This is what Vicki had to say:
"My son took part in this weekend's sport coaching, participating in Archery. What a wonderful opportunity for all the children.  Thank you so much for putting such effort in to making the weekend such a success. He really enjoyed himself and it gave him the opportunity to try something he ordinarily wouldn't experience. Please pass on my thanks to all the Devizes Lions and Devizes Archery club who made it happen. Without yours and their volunteering I realise the children wouldn't be so lucky.
Many thanks
And this fabulous photo from Tracey:
"Thank you so much for the coaching weekend, my daughter had a wonderful time at the gymnastics.

She really did, as you can see from the photograph. Thank you again."

And an amusing tweet from Kristy:

@Devizes_Lionsa big thank you for another amazing sports weekend. Table tennis was a hit!!!! ðŸ“

And from Devizes Bowmen:

"Devizes Bowmen introduced and coached over 80 young people in Archery, at the  Devizes Lions Sports Coaching Weekend on the 24th - 25th March. Big thanks to the Lions for organising this each year and to all those members who gave up their time to organise and coach this community event.... looking good in the clubs Wadworth sponsored shirts."


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Scroll downScroll down to find out more about the activities or click here: Activities

Here are some details of the amazing 2017 event:
1st and 2nd April 2017 was a record breaking Sports Coaching Weekend for Devizes Lions
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.



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.

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 ðŸ˜€"  (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. ðŸļðŸđðŸĪšðŸšĢ"  (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 2016 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.


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And....this is what we did in 2016 ......

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


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(The activities that are greyed out will not be available this year) 


Adventurous Activities 

Adventurous Activities at Braeside 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 the fastest racket sport in the world, with the shuttle (the bit you bash) travelling faster than a Formula 1 racing car! It is one of the most popular sports in the world with over 250 million people playing. It's an indoor sport that's fun, sociable and keeps you very fit!


Basketball is a fast moving game and one of the most popular sports in the world. It is a great workout that is good for health, stimulates the brain, allows you to make new friends and to have fun while being active. It can be played year-round.



Canoeing.   Have a taster and learn the basics of canoeing.  Going forwards, 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 11 years.  You can then join a local canoe club!

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



Frisbee.  "Ultimate" frisbee is a fast-moving team sport enjoyed by millions of players the world over. It’s played with a flying disc. Anyone can take part. Beginners find the game easy to learn and fun to play. "Ultimate" players require skill, agility and endurance….. Grab a disc and get out there!



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 fun!
Tracey sent us this fabulous photo and said,
"Thank you so much for the coaching weekend, my daughter had a wonderful time at the gymnastics.
She really did, as you can see from the photograph. Thank you again."








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.  The Olympic Gold winning sport from Rio 2016, is a fast, fun team game, where you use sticks and a plastic ball to score goals.  It is played on artificial pitches, making it faster and exciting!  Come and learn the skills you need!  Your local Club is Devizes, with a thriving Junior section.



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.

Pool Activities
Poolside Diving 


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.

Artistic Swimming

Artistic Swimming.  Girls and boys who can swim 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.




Riding.  The one hour session at the Children’s Riding School is aimed for beginners.  They will be meet some of our wonderful native pony breeds and gain a little understanding of a pony.  They will be able to borrow riding helmets of the correct standard and will be introduced to handling the ponies and to mounting and riding in the outdoor schools.


Squash can be played all year round.  It's a great workout and teaches hand-eye coordination as well as stamina. It's a game of not only fitness but of strategy, and it doesn’t require a whole team of people to play. It's fun!

Sword Fencing

Sword 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 and simplicity.  These remain the most attractive aspects of the sport today, developing all round fitness, flexibility of movement, stamina, mental agility, co-ordination, balance and self-confidence.  It’s great fun learning to duel.

Table Tennis


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 coach.

Tae Kwon-Do encourages interest in martial arts in a nonthreatening way. It also improves flexibility and fitness, develops pride, focus, and self-discipline. Tae kwon-do increases attention span, promotes concentration, and positively impacts other school activities. It is an excellent supplement to other sports.  Students learn respect for themselves and others.

Target Shooting.  An Olympic sport since the first modern games, shooting suits all ages.  It helps develop strength, stamina, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. During Sports Coaching you will learn to fire an air rifle at a fixed target on a modern 25 yard range, and you will enjoy seeing your ability increasing.

Tennis. You can play tennis whatever your age.  There are many places to play across the country.  It's a great way to get fit and can be a great way to make friends.  It's easy to get started and we provide the equipment, so come and have a go.



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.

Devizes Lions reserve the right to cancel any sport due to insufficient numbers or other unforeseen circumstances.

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