Tributes to ‘beloved’ founder of Bristol Hawks Gymnastics 

Michael set up Bristol Hawks Gymnastics in 1992 Credit: Zoë Potter

Michael May, born in 1933, set up Bristol Hawks Gymnastics with his wife Elaine May in 1992. 

A statement from Bristol Hawks said: “[He was] a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. He lived a long and fulfilling life surrounded by family and love."

Michael and Elaine moved to Bristol in 1987 and concentrated on gymnastics and their children. It wasn’t an easy start though, as a week before the club was supposed to open the building burnt down.

However, the couple bounced back and “Bristol Hawks rose from the ashes”. 

Michael aged 11 with his cup for best all-round sportsman Credit: Zoë Potter

The club statement said: “Their hard work and expertise was crucial to Bristol Hawks success and the club has gone from strength to strength under their guidance over the years. 

“The May family provides countless opportunities for people in Bristol and the wider area as they’d set out to achieve. United as a family, re-grouping, re-designing and improving upon the original concept after the fire was both brave and inspired. 

“We owe everything to Mike and would not be where we are today without him. His kindness, compassion and bravery will forever be remembered by his loved ones and our extended gym family.”

Bristol Hawks continue to provide classes for beginners right through to top international performers.

They've produced gymnasts that have gone on to compete in the Olympics, World Championships, European Championships, and Commonwealth Games.