SALTO was born in 1995 when we also established the UK Registered Charity and was officially launched the name SALTO (Stopsley and Luton Town Olympic) Gymnastics Club, with 'SALTO also being a gymnastic term for 'somersault', was chosen. Stopsley Gym Club (SGC) and Luton Gym Club (LGC) - not to be confused with the current Luton Gymnastics Club. Both of those clubs formed in the early 70's, training at Stopsley High School and Luton Youth Club respectively. The two clubs both grew independently, offering many local youngsters the chance to participate in the sport of gymnastics. Members competed successfully in CountyRegional and National Artistic Championships, notching up an impressive array of medals. A friendly rivalry was to be seen between the clubs in competition, although they also frequently combined for training sessions. Both had many claims to fame within the field with the girls of LGC forming the nucleus of the British Gymnastics squad in the early days, whilst SGC had their star in Eddie van Hoof, who after a successful competitive career, Eddie is now, Great Britain’s Head National Coach for Men’s Gymnastics. See Eddie's story in BG video

Eddie Van Hoof - A Life in Gymnastics

Time passed and circumstances caused both clubs to change venues, with Stopsley moving to the former Luton Regional Sports Centre and Luton being forced to seek new premises, moving to the top floor of an old hat factory in Guildford Street.

As both SGC and LGC were growing ever more popular and space to accommodate classes, now being run seven days a week at one or the other site, becoming a problem, a need to expand was seen. With the promise of a specialist sporting facility being planned for Luton by the Eastern Region Sports Council, both clubs saw this as the way forward and plans were put in place to win the privilege of having this facility as a new home. As discussions progressed it was soon evident that in order for the facility to best suit the needs of the sport, SCG and LGC would have to come together to form one club.

With the club trying to operate as one but from two sites, things were becoming difficult. In 1996, a Trampoline section was added to the club, which created a third site as training premises were at the High Town Recreation Centre. The hunt was on to relocate the whole operation into one temporary site until the funds were secured and the new facility built. This was to be a 'dry run' for the administration of the club and we moved lock, stock and barrel to Dawson’s, in what was JBS Business Park, in October 1996.

We would like to build a club archive with member images, old style video, and memories. If you would like to contribute to this project, contact us with your ideas and we will start the project.