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Windsurfing On The BBC

Congratulations to Ellie Johncey for an excellent job of making windsurfing look cool and funky for children, in the “Teacher is Coming to stay” programme on the CBBC TV channel on Sunday 22nd March.


The programme format has the BBC turning up at a Primary school on a Friday to challenge a teacher to go home with a particular pupil and learn the basics of two of that pupil’s hobbies, culminating in a ‘test’ on Monday morning in one of the activities. A great idea, but the BBC soon ran into difficulties finding kids who actually did two interesting hobbies, so they contacted schools in South London looking for suitable candidates – and discovered Ellie, an eleven year old Windsurfer – who’d also won the gold medal in her weight group in Judo at the London Youth Games…


So, to Ellie’s complete surprise, a full camera crew arrived at her school sports day, to pounce on Mrs Allen (Ellie’s form teacher) and challenge her to be taught both Windsurfing and Judo by Ellie over the weekend and tested on one of those sports on the Monday. The BBC film crew were at Ellie’s house over the whole weekend from 7:30 – 10:30 (and yes, Mrs. Allen did stay overnight at Ellie’s house) while Ellie taught her teacher both windsurfing and Judo. Mercers Park was the venue for the windsurfing training, and her objective was to be able to assemble a complete windsurfing rig against the clock, and use it. The training went well – but Monday morning dawned wet and super-windy (Force 6-8!), so surely the Beeb would choose the warmer dry option of Westcroft Judo Club for the final challenge? No, they went for the windsurfing – and Mrs Allen, who is clearly absolutely of the Right Stuff – went out there and performed on the water, to the (slightly bleary-eyed) official satisfaction of “pro judge” Murray Saunders, who’d driven up overnight from a big weekend at Gwithian to do the honours.

It all made for some great telly, and congrats again to Ellie and Mrs Allen for doing our sport proud. Nice one!

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