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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Former gymnast, Seriena-Levi Johnrose, joins the BRIT Ambassador family

We are delighted that Seriena has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.

Seriena was an elite gymnast who competed at national level for twelve years. In 2010, she was National Vault Champion, competed at the 2010 British Gymnastics Championships and represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games.

“Having been a student, and competing alongside young gymnasts for twelve years, I saw many young adults and students struggle with mental health challenges. Having been involved in gymnastics from the age of four to the age of twenty one, including injury that meant I was unable to compete for four years, I struggled with transitioning from being an athlete to a life away from the sport I loved; with a complete loss of identity and lack of purpose. It was a particularly challenging time and whilst I had good health, I know that many young adults can find a loss of identity, purpose and direction, particularly tough.

Being surrounded by family or friends that can read the early signs of unhappiness, depression, anxiety and loneliness is so important; as is knowing where to find support when you need it the most. In addition to signposting students and young adults to Samaritans and Shout, I am delighted that BRIT has partnered with PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and the Charlie Waller Trust. These four charities provide vital support to young adults and by BRIT partnering with them, this means that all donations raised by the BRIT 2021 Challenge will be shared equally between five mental health charities who support students and young adults.

The British Inspiration Trust’s Vision resonates with me both personally and as a former athlete; uniting Paralympians, Olympians and sports personalities to deliver inspiration, encouragement and support to the millions of students at universities and colleges throughout the UK is such a positive and uplifting UK-wide concept. I know that current and retired athletes will want to join the BRIT Ambassador family for many reasons; to share their experiences to help others; because they have been through mental health challenges themselves; the desire and passion to give back to a younger generation, and to do all they can to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

All that universities and colleges need to do is embrace the challenge, enter a team and champion the opportunity to take part. Teams can be a whole university or college, students’ union, campuses, departments or even sports teams; the idea is to encourage as many students and staff to take part as possible.

I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and look forward to encouraging and supporting students at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston's College and Cardinal Newman College as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge.”

Seriena was educated at Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Preston. She was coached, at the Garstang School of Gymnastics in Preston. Seriena went on to study at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Seriena started out as a gymnast at four years old and after just 5 months of training, she entered her first competition where she won gold on all apparatus and overall.

This was the early sign that Seriena was a talented gymnast. From there she went on to perform in the Lancashire Red Rose Championships. As the youngest competitor by at least a year, she won 3 bronze medals. The following year she returned to compete in the Championships, at the same age as the other gymnasts, and won gold as well as becoming overall Champion. Seriena remain the Lancashire Champion throughout her career and regularly trained with the Lancashire County Squad.

Seriena competed numerous times in the North West Championships, always placing in the top two. She was part of the North West team in British Teams and British School Championships for many years.

Seriena travelled all over the world during her gymnastics career and on a trip with Lancashire County Squad, she found herself in Texas and training with Carly Pattison who went on to win the Olympics in 2004. Carly's Coach worked closely with Seriena on this trip and offered her a place at his gym if she ever decided to move to the USA. Later on in life, Seriena was offered a scholarship to move to USA however she decided against this.

Seriena competed in competitions such as the English Championships, where she placed in the top 6 overall and won gold on Vault a number of times. She competed in the British Championships as a Espoir, Junior and a Senior. Throughout the years, Seriena usually placed in the top 10 as well as competing in the all-around finals. She placed 4th over all on Vault just missing out on the bronze medal. Seriena also regularly trained with the English and British squad.

Sadly, due to a serious injury, Seriena was forced out of the sport for almost four years. Seriena felt that she had unfinished work to do and returned back to the gym in 2009, at 19 years old, with the 2010 Commonweath Games in her sights. She was told this was not achievable, however in those 18 months prior to the Games, Seriena trained harder than she ever had before. That year Seriena was Lancashire County Champion on each apparatus, and overall, National Vault Champion, competed in the British Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships and represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

After her career in gymnastics, Seriena went on to become an International Business Developer in the aviation industry, a specialist head-hunter in the Audio, Visual and Events sectors and more recently, has been working to support businesses in COVID-19 recovery; helping them to return back to work safely and with confidence.


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