Meet the team
Drew Ratcliff – Executive Director and Head Coach (Level 2)
“I got into Parkour coaching because it is something close to my heart. Parkour has always held a strong message for me, that of freedom and helping others. The community spirit of Parkour is one I’ve not found in any other sport or activity, as it’s not competitive. This aspect makes it great for building self-esteem, as you have to overcome obstacles – both physical and mental – but there are no immediate repercussions if you don’t, unlike other activities, which makes it impossible for you to be anything other than satisfied with yourself.
“Parkour has developed well in Crawley as it’s quite an urban area and Crawley Borough Council and Freedom Leisure are very supportive of Parkour and youth in the area. One thing we are trying to educate people about is the misconception of Parkour as being a dangerous stunt activity, involving “roof jumping”. This is not what it’s about and having a sustained Parkour presence in Crawley will raise awareness of how safe it is in reality.
“Parkour is a low cost activity that can be done by anyone – all you need is a pair of trainers and your natural surroundings. This makes it a very affordable and accessible activity which can bring a community together. It can help young people focus on something positive and make an impact not only on themselves, but the community. Once you fully understand Parkour, it’s very hard not to fall in love with it.”
Josh Lee – Non-executive Director and Lead Coach (Level 1)
"I actually started Parkour in a very strange and peculiar way. I was on Brighton beach and my friend told me to try a catapult back flip (where somebody throws you with their hand into a back flip) and I started training different moves after perfecting that one.
"I then met the Urban Playground team from Brighton who helped me gain a better understanding of how to train safely. I then spent years practicing and becoming more and more competent. I started helping people out with training at the local Parkour training area, a fantastic space developed by CBC, which I lived super close to at the time.
"From this, I realised I wanted to pass this on to others, because I now know how important training safely really is. I've spent years working with children in a nursery and of course with my Parkour coaching, as I love helping children develop and grow. These things have helped my confidence as a coach so much and I hope to keep them going so I can see people we have taught, out and about training correctly and safely and becoming awesome at Parkour. To achieve this would mean so much.”
Dave Downey - Non-executive Director
"After gaining a Diploma in Leisure Studies (sport and recreation), I became Duty Manager of a racquets and health club in Surrey for 5 years.
I then spent 4 years in Perth, Western Australia, where I worked as a children's playleader and youth worker, before progressing to management level at a local government leisure service. My final role in Australia was as Sports Coordinator covering 3 leisure centres.
"After returning to the UK in 2006, I became Extreme Sports Officer for Crawley Borough Council, It was during this role that I became aware of Parkour and I spent 3 years assisting the council to develop it, as well as identifying local young people to become Parkour leaders.
In 2009, I became Community Sports Development Officer for Freedom Leisure at K2 Crawley, then becoming Sports Development Manager there in 2018 for the UK's largest leisure operator, Everyone Active . Although I had to focus on developing lots of sports, Parkour remained a central focus for me, as I had developed a real passion for it.
"During the 11 years in these two roles, I've helped mentor one of the most passionate and dedicated Parkour groups around: Crawley Parkour. I was honoured to be appointed Non-executive Director of Crawley Parkour CIC when it became a Community Interest Company in June 2017 and I hope to use my management and community/sports development knowledge and skills to help make the Company a success.
"In my spare time, I go to the gym and in the summer I play cricket in Surrey and watch my son play cricket for Cuckfield."
Keeley Sydes - Coach (Level 1)
"I've been doing Parkour for just under two years now, after seeing an advertisement online it persuaded me to give it a go.
I'd always loved the stereotypical image of parkour with the big jumps and vaults being made to look effortless, but only when I gave it a go myself did I realize how much more there was to Parkour.
Really pushing my body to see what I was capable of has been so rewarding as well as working through many mental obstacles which has allowed me to become so much more confident in my abilities.
I hope through coaching I will be able to help others truly reach their potential and achieve things they never thought was possible!"
Callun Lavington - Coach (Level 2)
"I started Parkour in May 2012 after getting tired of being bored sitting around the house & playing video games. Since starting, it has given me a new outlook on life and has really helped me challenge myself, moving into skateboarding, rollerblading, stunt work and acting.
"It has also helped me with personal struggles with anxiety and depression, always lightening my mood, due to breaking new mental barriers and meeting some of the best group of friends from all over the world!
"I met the Crawley Parkour team in December 2016 & they welcomed me into their team with open arms. They have helped progress me both as an individual and as an athlete and I was honored to be given the opportunity to coach my largest passion with a talented group of individuals.
"I want to teach safe and efficient Parkour movement, so upcoming athletes don't make the same mistakes I did when I was trying to progress at a young age. I also want to help the development of Parkour in mainstream culture via fashion and media."
Tamara Castle - Coach (Level 1)
"I strongly believe in a holistic view to teaching, meaning I like to develop and engage each person as a whole, whilst encouraging self expression in a positive way.
"Having a background in aerial arts, dance and musical theatre, I stumbled (quite literally) upon the world of Parkour when I was approached by Drew to consider practicing it as a sport.
"After only doing Parkour for four months, I took my level one Parkour coaching qualification and successfully qualified in September 2017. I can be seen assisting in many of the younger classes as well as hopefully encouraging and beginning to engage women into the world of Parkour.
"Outside of the Parkour world, I own and run a full time aerial fitness & dance studio, as well as working as an inclusive dance instructor for children with disabilities at Young Epilepsy school. Most of my time is spent in the air either flying on aerial equipment or enjoying how natural movements can be applied to the discipline of Parkour."
Alfie White - Coach (volunteer)
"I am 18 years old. I love the outdoors and being active, and I also enjoy "old arts" such as woodwork and survival skills. I have now been doing Parkour for the last 4 years.
"I first saw Parkour on the internet and with a gymnastics background decided I would give it a shot. I didn’t really know where to start but after finding Crawley Parkour and being welcomed into the sessions, I started to pick up a few things.
"After just over a year of training, I was helping the Crawley Parkour team coach sessions and later got a junior leadership award.
"My aim for this year is to become a level 1 qualified coach, so I can pass on my experiences to other people wanting to learn Parkour."
Alex Mullin - Coach (Level 1)
"Hey, I am Alex and I've been training for four years. I started Parkour because I needed something to get me out of the house. I enjoy Parkour because it's your own, everyone trains differently and you are independent in the way you train
Other sports are competitive, having to compete with other people and there are other people that you have to rely on or that can let you down, in Parkour that isn't the case. You are free to push yourself as far as you want and train whenever you want, and that freedom is what most appeals to me"