A LOPPINGTON resident will 'bounce' into the new year with honour after being awarded a British Empire Medal for her work in helping people with disabilities get involved with trampolining.

Tricia Sharpe, originally from Billericay in Essex, has been awarded a BEM for her services to the sport of trampolining and in setting up a centre dedicated to helping people of all abilities enjoy the sport.

A keen trampolinist as a child, Tricia progressed into becoming a coach and soon realised that there was little on offer for many people with disabilities.

Tricia completed her disability coaching and in 1998 opened a charity-run club – the Recoil Trampoline Club – in Brentwood in Essex, which quickly grew in members.

Soon realising that a new centre was needed, catering especially for people with disabilities.

After 12 years and more than £300,000 being raised, a new building was identified and converted into the club's new home.

Tricia has continued to fundraise though, including last year raising £16,000 for the charity and was nominated for an honour, something which she feels 'humbled' by.

"I'm excited that my life's work has been recognized this way," she added.

"I knew I had been awarded two weeks ago but had to keep it a secret, which was very difficult."

Tricia explains how her trampolining charity came about.

"I've always been in trampolining, as a child and went on to become a coach," she said. "I quickly realised trampolining was an amazing sport, and thought it was for everybody.

"I took my disability coaching, that's when it took off.

"I started a club in 1998 in Brentwood, it started with seven children on a Saturday morning, which quickly grew to 70 children by the end of the year.

"Thought what we needed was a home for our class. This took 12 years to get all support on board from the various bodies.

"We raised £360,000 and identified an old building that was transformed – It was the first of its kind to put the trampoline in the floor.

"Last year I did a tuk-tuk challenge, where I travelled from Land's End to John O'Groats and the idea was to promote the idea of trampolining for people with disabilities.

"We raised £16,000 and everything was donated and every penny raised went into the charity.

"I'm still a trustee and the activity centre is thriving.

"We accept anyone from preschool to professional, any age or ability – At the end of the day we all the same."

Tricia says she is delighted to receive the BME and hope it will continue to promote the sport for people with disabilities.

"The whole thing is great," added Tricia. "What I am so pleased about is that I can further publicise the sport of trampolining."