EUROPEAN MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS 6th to 10th March 2018 Helsingborg, Sweden

This year, BGWLC have three lifters selected to compete for Great Britain – Thomas Celestin (105kg) , Ernie and June. They will be joined by current World Masters M2 (93kg) champion Robert Rodney. This is the first European Powerlifting championships and will be held in  Helsingborg, Sweden over the course of this week, we wish the lifters much success.

Full results will be available on the EPF website


Ron Whittam Obituary

RON WHITTAM 1931 – 2016


Ron in 2014

I cannot write about “old Ron” without giving a brief history about the Club, as both he and the gym were entwined for many years.

Ron was born on the 2nd October 1931 in the London Hospital, Whitechapel. He first attended the Club in 1947 at the age of 16. At that time the gym was in an old outbuilding in the playground, where the school-keeper’s house is now. The gym transferred to its present site in 1950 when Jack Brender (the then Instructor) decided to utilise the empty space.

The gym in those days was primarily a weightlifting and bodybuilding gym with many strong, fit and active men in attendance. The gym has gone through many changes and personnel with Instructors such as: Jack Brender, Ken Marshall, Jimmy Savage, Bill Woods, George Manners, Jimmy Beaching, Ronnie Griffiths, Martin Bass, Pat Atteridge, Mark Welch, Heather Allison, Giles Greenwood, Abio Hamza and our newest addition Sauro Gardenal. Amongst the above were and are, some great Lifters and good servants to the Club.


The Bethnal Green physique lads, 1952. Ron is second from right

The one constant who linked all of them, was Ron Whittam. Whether it was going with Ronnie Griffiths and myself to the British Champs in the 70s with Gary Peck (Lightweight British Junior Champion), and running around parts of Birmingham with him to make weight, or watching Steve Zetolofsky smash a 380kg squat at Digbeth Town Hall to silence the Northern Lifters’ fan club, when taking the British title from Eddy Kirshaw, or sitting with me when we saw George Manners press 319lbs at Hornsey Town Hall and screaming like two school kids – He was there! On that day the winner was supposed to be picked to go to the Munich Olympics. (George wasn’t picked, but that’s a story for another day).

From weightlifting Comps at Crystal Palace to powerlifting Comps at The Green, Ron supported the Club and its Lifters. As a young man he Lifted for Bethnal Green and in 2011 BAWLA (now BL) invited him to collect an award for being the longest serving member. He collected a number of awards and certificates from Patrick Atteridge for taking part in the old British Weightlifting gradings, the two hand curl being his favourite. He would always volunteer when needed and even in his 80s he would still be the first to help me with the chairs and get the gym set up prior to competitions.

His enthusiasm for training was incredible, staying with him throughout his life.   When I first attended the gym along with Ronnie Griffiths in 1970, old Ron would be training – “no talking”, non-stop 8 – 10 exercises. If, at any time you tried to talk to him or interrupt his flow you would receive the following “don’t bother me I’m training”. Over time, when he realised that both myself and young Ron were here to stay, we became friends, passing on wisdom and stories to us for the next 45 years. His attitude to training was unlike many of the modern trainers. As long as you were training with weights, it didn’t matter whether you were a weightlifter, powerlifter, body builder or a generic weight trainer; keeping fit, strong, active and healthy was the goal!

He loved to lay in the sun and his yearly jaunts to Malta would result in him coming back the colour of finely polished mahogany (no fears about the ozone for our Ron). He was a magnificent swimmer, both in the sea and swimming pool, and on many occasions he swam with my children to raise money for his favourite charities. He joined the Serpentine Swimming Club in 2000 and became a favourite of all who met him. Even in his 80s, he would still be training 4 times a week. Tuesday and Thursday at the gym and swimming Wednesday and Saturday at the Serpentine – READ THAT AGAIN – Weights Tuesday and Thursday – Swim Wednesday and Saturday.

I saw him at the gym on the Thursday and the swimmers saw him at the Serpentine on the following Saturday, just a few days before he passed away. That was Ron!

For 20 years he had been a member of LEBA (London Ex-Boxers Assoc) and spent many happy hours chatting with his mates. For me it was a pleasure talking to someone who could tell me about all the old famous strongmen and body builders; Reg Park, Rueb Martin etc, who he had seen, as well as the numerous wrestling and boxing matches he had attended in and around the East End in the late 40s, 50s and 60s. He was a living link to the past. He spent all of his life within a mile of where he was born. In 1944 he was bombed out of his uncle’s pub at Old Bethnal Green Road (his uncle being killed by a V1 rocket). He then moved to a prefab in Ion Square (now Gardens) off Hackney Road and when new flats were built, he moved to Wellington Row where he spent the rest of his life.

Ron was always positive, enjoyed life, did his own thing and loved every minute of it. A good life and an example to us all.



Ron Whittam

Ron Whittam’s funeral will be held on 5th April 2016, at 12pm, at the City of London Cemetery. As a mark of respect, the gym will be closed on this day for both the morning and evening sessions.


Ron Whittam, second from right, in 1952


Ron at the gym in 2014

Please note: this post has been edited to reflect our decision to close the gym all day on 5th April.

International Powerlifting Coaches UK

Renowned powerlifting coach and current manager of the GBPF British seniors team, Lawrence Farncombe, has put together a list of the top powerlifting coaches in the UK. We are proud to announce that our powerlifting coach, Martin Bass, is on this list, reflecting his success at both national and international level.

If you are in or near London and are serious about powerlifting, come and see us for some of the best coaching in the country. If you’re not near London, take a look at Coach Farncombe’s list to find a great coach near you.

International Powerlifting Coaches UK

New weightlifting coach, Sauro Gardenal

olympic-weightlifting-4From 11th July 2015 we have a new Olympic weightlifting coach at BGWLC! Sauro Gardenal is a former British Masters Champion in the 85kg class (2011 & 2012) with many years of coaching expertise.

Sauro will be coaching sessions at the gym on Monday, Wednesday & Friday evenings (see our Opening Times page). Olympic weightlifters are, as always, also welcome to train at the gym any time Sauro is not there.

Please join us in welcoming Sauro & wishing him the best of luck at BGWLC!

BGWLC Diversity Survey

We are currently working with Tower Hamlets council to ensure our club is seen as fair and inclusive in the community. This is part of our effort to secure grant funding for the gym.

We are conducting a survey of our members & gym attendees, and invite you to fill out our survey online:

BGWLC Diversity Survey

All information is anonymous and confidential, and you do not need to answer any questions you are not comfortable with.

There will also be paper copies available at the gym from tomorrow (Friday 29th May), if you would prefer to fill out the survey that way.

Thank you!

BWL British Masters 2015 – results

On 14 & 15 March BGWLC took a team of weightlifters to the BWL Masters championships, held at Lillieshall.

Our lifters had a great day, taking 6 first places, one second place, and best overall female lifter!

Mark W, Jennifer, Pat and Dyana

Mark W, Jennifer, Pat and Dyana

Weight class Age Total Place
Dyana Alternor 53 W50 109kg 1st
Jennifer Maysmore-Gee 69 W50 132kg 1st
Best overall female lifter
Stephen Martin 105 M40 260kg 1st
Patrick Atteridge 62 M60 130kg 1st
Mark Welch 77 M55 182kg 1st
Micky Roach 69 M50 173kg 1st
Mark Bass 94 M35 220kg 2nd
Mark B and Micky

Mark B and Micky

A big thanks to Martin Bass who accompanied the lifters.

Well done all!

Bob Crisp, 1934-2014

The Bob Crisp Memorial Shield

The Bob Crisp Memorial Shield

By Pat Atteridge.

Bob Crisp sadly passed away on Christmas Day 2014, and laid to rest on Friday 16th January by his loving family and wife Sheila.

Born in St Leonard’s Hospital, Hackney, he started lifting at Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club in 1949, aged fifteen, then went on to train at the Colvestone Weightlifting Club in Dalston in the 1960s and was a member of the weghtlifting team for many years.

In a match in 1963 he achieved a 300lbs (136kg) clean & jerk, a milestone back then. Then in 1990 Bob competed in in his first World Masters, placing 9th; later he won silver in 1994 at the age of sixty.

Always a mind of wisdom, on one occasion while coaching a lifter at an international he convinced the lifter to drop his opening jerk by saying in the manner of someone very wise: “That’s rather a very heavy weight to start with, I suggest dropping 10 kilos” which the lifter did, and went on to do a very good total.

Competing in his last World Masters in 2012, and winning the bronze medal, travelling all over the world with his good wife Sheila, he will be missed by many on both the national and international scene.

Always a fighter, overcoming many illnesses, Bob was an inspiration to all who had the pleasure to meet him. And so our sympathy goes out to all his family at this very sad time.

RIP Bob, from the Masters both north & south of the border, you will be missed.

The Bob Crisp Memorial Shield will be presented to the Best Female Lifter at the Southern Masters, in Bob’s honour.

BGWLC Weightlifting Club Championships – report

BGWLC Weightlifting Club Championships 2014 – Saturday 13th December

by Pat Atteridge

Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club held its annual championships on Saturday 13th December, and showed that weight lifting is alive & well at the Green, with 17 competing of all ages & bodyweight classes.

This year was the first time the Green used an age allowance to make it fair for the older lifter, and I must say it turned out to be the best club championships ever.

Organised by the weight lifting coach Hamza Abiyo, and Martin Bass, club secretary, and run very well – with Martin doing a great job as usual as M.C. It was great to see so many beginners competing – 11 in total, 9 in the first group and 2 in the second group. 6 competed in the advanced/experienced group, for lifters who have competed before.

There were 3 medals for each group, and I must say Martin pushed the boat out with the standard of medals – better than I’ve won at the British Masters!

In the beginners’ group there was a great competition between one of Sauro’s boys Jorge Arango, and Thomas Leys from the Green. Thomas pulled ahead by only one kilo, coming first in the novice group. In the experienced group there was a great battle between Mark Bass and Tomasz Joka, once again coming down to a single kilo. Tomasz treated to us to a display of clean-grip snatching, but had to settle for 4th place overall. Michael Roach was the runner-up, and Pat Atteridge won for the second time in his long career.

Click here to see videos of all the lifts!


Snatch Jerk
Name BWT Allowance* 1 2 3 Sub-total 1 2 3 Total
James Davenport 63 74+2 40 45 45 121 55 60 65 181
Sajjana Heart 67.5 65+42 40 40 42 149 50 52 55 201
Paul Lee 71 58 40 45 50 108 55 60 70 163
Jorge Arango 75 51 75 80 85 136 90 95 103 239
Jon James 76 48 40 45 50 93 60 65 67 158
Vagelis Filis 80 40 70 75 78 118 90 95 100 218
Jonathan Oviasu 85 30 45 50 56 86 80 90 95 166
George Richardson 88 24 60 65 70 89 85 90 90 179
Richard Magowan 85 30 45 50 55 85 70 75 77 162
Thomas Leys 83.5 33 80 85 90 123 105 112 117 240
Darren Klein 100 0 100 103 107 103 100 107 115 210
  1. Thomas Leys
  2. Jorge Arango
  3. Vagelis Filis

Experienced lifters

Snatch Jerk
Name BWT Allowance* 1 2 3 Sub-total 1 2 3 Total
Patrick Atteridge 62.5 75/54 55 57 59 186 70 73 75 261
Michael Roach 71 58/28 60 65 68 151 90 95 100 246
John Atteridge 80 40/32 80 85 152
Tomasz Joka 86.5 27 90 95 102 129 100 110 120 239
Mark Bass 89.5 21 90 94 97 118 110 118 123 240
Chris Ryan 97 6 77 77 83 89 100 107 110 199
  1. Patrick Atteridge
  2. Michael Roach
  3. Mark Bass

* Allowances were made between age & bodyweight, to ensure all lifters were competing on a level playing field.