By Paul Osborne

Sir John Major has been appointed the new Patron for British GymnasticsDecember 3 - Former British Prime Minister John Major has agreed to become the new Patron for British Gymnastics, it was announced today.

Major, who served as Prime Minister from 1990-1997, takes the title following the passing of previous Patron the Earl of Gainsborough in 2012.

"Gymnastics is a thrilling sport that is rapidly growing in popularity," said Major.

"Its elite performances require great skill and dedication, and I - for one - marvel at their ability

"But Gymnastics is not only for the highly skilled.

"It is a wonderful sport that can be enjoyed by anyone who wishes to keep fit, especially the young.

"I am delighted and honoured to become Patron of British Gymnastics."

Major was seen at a number of events during the London 2012 Games including the gymnastics ©Getty ImagesJohn Major was seen at a number of events during London 2012, including gymnastics
©Getty Images

Whilst in office, Major and his Government introduced the National Lottery initiative which has seen around £4.4 billion ($7.2 billion/€5.3 billion) worth of funding reach sport in Britain at both elite and grassroots level.

This funding has been crucial in the development of sport in the UK, and particularly in helping British Gymnasts attain their outstanding medal haul in London 2012.

During these Olympics, the men became the first Britons to win a medal in the team event in 100 years, picking up bronze in the men's artistic event, although originally being placed in second before a revision to Japan's score.

Max Whitlock also claimed a solo bronze on the pommel horse, with teammate Louis Smith taking silver in the same event before Beth Tweddle took bronze on the bars.

Louis Smith won an Olympic silver medal on the pommel horse at London 2012 as British gymnasts enjoyed their best ever performance ©Getty ImagesLouis Smith won an Olympic silver medal on the pommel horse at London 2012 as British gymnasts enjoyed their best ever performance ©Getty Images

British Gymnastics President, Alan Sommerville claimed he was delighted with the new appointment.

"My wife and I were privileged to sit with Sir John and his wife Dame Norma during the London 2012 Olympic gymnastics events," he said.

"They both showed such enthusiasm and support for our competitors, that the Board of Directors were encouraged to write to Sir John inviting him to consider becoming the Patron of British Gymnastics.

"BG is delighted and hugely honoured to be able to confirm that Sir John has accepted our invitation to become the next honorary non-executive Patron of British Gymnastics.

"Sir John has already expressed a keen interest in attending future UK gymnastics events insofar as his many other commitments allow."

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