MORE than 120 athletes turned up at one of our recent training sessions and that’s pretty much the norm for us, at this time of year.

We have some very talented young athletes and we really seem to be flourishing as a club.

Our Monday evening training session for under-12s is over-subscribed.

We’re not losing athletes any more to other sports – we seem to be gaining them.

We have a huge waiting list and in some ways, we seem to be victims of our own success.

We seem to be holding onto people more and they want to stay.

The club was in a very bad place little more than 12 months ago, with people leaving.

We have some very good people at the club, parents and volunteers. We’ve rebuilt after the problems that we had in previous years.

There were so many senior people who jumped ship when the problems hit and that’s difficult to take.

The club has had to rebuild and that’s the road that we’ve had to go down.

I was asked back as chairman to steady the ship and one aspect of that was to bring back the feel-good factor, which it had lost. I’m pleased to say it’s now well and truly back again and that’s a big part of the rebuilding plan we had in place.

The key is for the athletes to have smiles on their faces and if we can keep that going, some of the more talented 11, 12 and 13 year-olds will carry on with us – it’s a long-term thing to bring talent through.

We now have a group of coaches who are all working together and they’re dedicated to what the club is doing.

They take an active role – they all have ideas and they’re a joy to work with.

In the old days, it felt sometimes like we were pulling teeth but now we have a group of people who are fantastic.

They’re interested in the way that the club moves forward.

Two years ago, there were between 40 to 45 people involved in the admin side of the club – now there’s the grand total of 20.

It’s a lot smaller but it’s better because everyone is pulling in the same direction and that’s something that we didn’t have before.

They’re a terrific bunch of people to work with.

I officially step down as chairman at our AGM on October 3.

I’m staying on as our membership secretary and also moving to a coaching role within the club, as I still wanted to stay involved.

It will be jumps coaching, which is what I’ve been specialising in and it takes you out of your comfort zone, which is what I like.

That’s happened as a chairman on a regular basis.

I’m very much an ideas person and there’s only so much you can offer, after five years as chairman but I’ve not lost my enthusiasm.

It’s just that you start to think that another person will bring fresh input to the role and that can only be a good thing.

Our current club secretary Alan Palmer will be taking over as club chairman and he’ll do a very good job.

He’s very competent and he’s been at the club for a long time – he’s always been very supportive but he’s not a yes man and he will bring his own ideas on how things should be done.

He’ll need to find his way in the role and one thing I’d say is that you learn a hell of a lot about people and what motivates them.

I’ve been a photographer for 30 years but in five years as chairman, I’ve learnt more about psychology and what motivates people.

That’s across the whole spectrum and everyone has different agendas.

A good committee member will know all about everything that’s going on at a club but as chairman, that’s an absolute pre-requisite and you really have to keep your eyes and ears open.

Apathy is the worst thing for any club whatever the sport – people are wary of going out of their comfort zone.

The emphasis at the club is on a more relaxed approach, no elitism and we welcome all abilities and ages. We want to provide opportunities and there’s no pressure on people to do what they don’t want to do.

We used to get hung up on how many youngsters were actually competing for us. But if they want to come and train and not compete, then we won’t stop them.

It’s about giving athletes space and time to find out what they want to do.

Anyone who would like to get in touch with Colchester and Tendring Athletics Club should email