The Blue Falcons Gymnastic Display Team was founded in 1974 by Team Manager Mick Ford. The team is based at Chelmer Valley High School and is composed of students both past and present. Over the past 42 years The Blue Falcons has gained a reputation as one of the foremost gymnastic display teams in the country.
The main format of the displays is based upon the Armed Services form of gymnastic displays, therefore vaulting provides the basis, although there is no limit to the type of vaults performed. In its repertoire the team include vaulting each other, hoops of fire, cars and can, if the weather is favourable, vault the school minibus, width and lengthways. This is a feat we feel is unique to the team (well it was until CHVS got their new minibus!!).
From the first ever public display at Broomfield Women’s Institute, The Blue Falcons have received much recognition. Throughout the year the team regularly appear at fetes, carnivals, shows, spectaculars and fun days, but also have the pleasure of appearing at larger national venues. In 1991 The Blue Falcons appeared at Wembley Stadium as part of the BBC’s Children in Need Appeal.
The team also had the honour of performing before HRH the Duchess of Kent and 10,000 spectators at the 1995 Royal Tournament (the first school gymnastic display team to have done so). Such was the response that the team gave repeat performances in 1996 and 1997. In 1998 The Blue Falcons were given the award of Classic FM’s first ever national ‘Team of the Week’.
In December 1999, in the teams 25th year, The Blue Falcons successfully achieved an official Guinness World Record for the amount of vaults completed in 1 hour by a team of ten, amassing an amazing 4095 vaults. The Blue Falcons have also had the pleasure of performing at such venues as Police Fun Days, Chelmsford Spectacular, Military Tattoos, and The Royal Navy’s Festival of the Sea – Portsmouth and ‘Navy Days’ – Chatham.
Appearances have been made on both local and national television including: TV South East, Anglia News, Look East, BBC Children in Need and Blue Peter.
In 1996 and 1998 The Blue Falcons gained the Award for Youth from Chelmsford Borough Council in recognition of its work and achievements. In one fundraising event the team vaulted continuously for 24 hours, not only completing a World Record 212,775 vaults but also producing enough money towards replacing the school minibus as well as provide Broomfield Hospital with a new TV and Video for its Children’s Ward.
In September 2003 at The Meadows Shopping Centre, Chelmsford, The Blue Falcons held a sponsored World Record Event with two teams aiming to beat their own Guinness World Record for the ‘most vaults in one hour’ set in 1999. The event was a complete success with both teams breaking the original record with 4575 and 5685 vaults respectively and once again making The Blue Falcons official Guinness World Record Holders. Funds raised were donated to Little Haven Children’s Hospice and were sufficient enough to sponsor a specialised nurse for six weeks.
A 12 hour sponsored vault in April 2007 produced a staggering 132,000 vaults plus enough funds to purchase new equipment for the team and donate money and gifts to the neo natal and children’s wards of 2 hospitals. Following on from this in September 2009 The Blue Falcons successfully broke their Guinness World Record yet again with an unbelievable 6250 vaults, with proceeds being shared between DebRA – a charity helping people with a skin blistering disease and The Burned Children’s Club.
In recognition of the team’s achievements they were awarded the Essex Sports Award 2009. In addition to their annual displays at various venues the team have been asked to the NIA Birmingham for the Birmingham International Tattoo in 2009, 2011 and 2013 where they have performed alongside the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in front of 20,000 spectators.
Such is the demand for places in The Blue Falcons that in 1994 a junior team was formed, The Fledglings. This team is mainly made up of Year 7 students who are given the opportunity to gain confidence and ability before moving up into the main team. This ensures that The Blue Falcons consistently maintains its high standards of performance. Successfully combining endurance vaulting with fundraising the team have managed to raise well in excess of £50,000 for local, national and worthy causes.
In 2014, after 40 loyal years with the team, Mick Ford handed the mantle of Team Manager over to (retired) senior gymnast Gary Steggall in order for The Blue Falcons to continue to excite and entertain audiences, raise money for charity and give young people an opportunity to display their talents.
Members of The Blue Falcons are deeply indebted to their current sponsors The Royal Navy, Lodge's Coaches, GKS Tree Care and Webwax. Thanks also go to Chelmer Valley High School for their continued support.