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All our coaches and trustees are voluntary and all give up their time to teach their squads for the love of the sport.

Continue reading below to get to know each of us a little more. 

2020-2021 Coaching Staff

Lianne Blackwood, Helen Best, Carley Johnson, Jordan Burdon, Hannah Roberts, Kelly Jordan, Kelly Alderton, Abbie Wickens, Ria Jones, Leah Greenwood, Demi Woodford, Gracie Hinshelwood.



Co-Founders of the Sussex Tornados, Lianne Blackwood and Helen Best started the team in 1998 when they were both in their final year of high school. With just 8 members, and the support of their parents, Sussex Tornados started training in a local youth club hall preparing for the first competition in Germany in 1999. Lianne and Helen have both completed USASF Level 5 qualifications and Lianne also spent many years as an NCSSE instructor with the British Cheerleading Association.

During their competitive careers, both competed as members of the national team, Team UK at the World Championships in Tokyo, 2005. Lianne also competed at Worlds in 2003 and again in 2007. As coaches and competitors, they have taken Tornados teams to compete across the UK, USA, Germany, Russia, Denmark and Helen took a team to compete in Norway whilst Lianne coached and judged in Malaysia. In 2010, Lianne was named Sports Coach of the Year in the Littlehampton Gazettes Community Stars.

Both Lianne and Helen competed with our masters team, Flashback. They are Head Coaches of the Programme as well as being on our board of Trustees. Lianne currently coaches our Youth Level 2 team, Ultimate Storm. Helen has recently moved to start coaching our Junior Level 1 team, Vortex.



Coach Carley Johnson was a founding member of Sussex Tornados in 1998, has been a qualified coach since 2003 and is the coaches representative on our board of trustee’s.

As a competing member of the team she competed in UK, Germany, Denmark, Russia and USA in both Levels 5 and 6. In 2003 she was invited to be part of Team Britain demonstration squad and also competed at the World Championships in 2005 with Team UK. Carley is qualified to Level 7, is the Head Coach of the Programme and has been Sussex Tornados primary tumble coach for many years. In 2014, Coach Carley took a team of athletes to compete in Florida, coming home with our first win from across the pond!

Carley took on the role of programme director in 2015 and is working hard to build on the successes of Lianne and Helen. She coaches Thunderbolts, Sub Zero, Full Force 10, Supreme Thunder, Hurricane Extreme and Flashback, as well as overseeing the choreography for all Tornados teams, and running tumble classes.

Aside from Tornados, Carley is an instructor for the BCA’s coaching qualification BCQ and travels around the country leading coaching courses, she also works as BCA Staff. She has completed Legacy’s perspective judging course and helps at competitions as an ambassador. Coach Carley continues to keep updating her qualifications and knowledge, providing training to Tornados coaches to ensure that we are all working with the most recent information and techniques.


This is Coach Jordan!! At age 5, Jordan started as a competitive cheerleader and part of the Sussex Tornados family. She has travelled to compete all over the UK, as well as flying to the USA in 2014 and placing 1st place at AmeriCheer in Florida. She has now joined our board of Trustees and is the Cheerleader Representative for the team. Coach Jordan is the Head Coach of our Tiny programme (Baby Blizzard and Cloudburst), as well as coaching Sub Zero, Ultimate Storm and Full Force 10. She is a competitive athlete in Supreme Thunder and Hurricane Extreme, as well as competing with our Flashback team each time they have been to competition. She helps with running tumble camps, private sessions and fundraising events. Jordan is also the Director of our Social Media and our Website Editor. 

In her spare time away from STC, as well as working full time, Jordan works for the BCA as staff at competitions and instructing BCQ courses across the country alongside Coach Carley. She has also helped at Legacy competitions as an Ambassador.


Meet Coach Hannah! She has been cheerleading for 11 years with Sussex Tornados and is now currently on her 4th season of coaching. She has experienced so much with Tornados, including being on TV Adverts and Game Shows. Hannah has also travelled to compete all over the country and many parts of Europe in her time at Tornados. This season, Hannah is an athlete in our Supreme Thunder and Hurricane Extreme teams. She was also an active competitive athlete with Flashback. Hannah is coaching Thunderbolts, Lightning Strikes and Sub Zero again this season.


Coach Kelly Jordan joined Tornados during their 2nd season in 1999. She remained a competitive cheerleader for over 10 years in both Senior co-ed and all girl level 5 as a flyer. As a competing member of the team, Kelly competed all across the UK and in Germany on numerous occasions. On her return to the program in 2014, Kelly qualified in both levels 1 and 2, and currently coaches our Lightning Strikes and Vortex teams. 


Coach Kelly joined Sussex Tornados around 20 years ago, and has been coaching our Youth Level 2 team for the past 14 years before moving to our Senior 1 team who she coaches currently. She has competed with our Senior Level 4/5 all girl and Co-ed teams previously, travelling to Germany and America, as well as many UK competitions.


This is Coach Abbie. She has been cheerleading since 2010 and been competing since 2013. Abbie joined the Tornados family in 2014, and has worked her way up to coaching. She had been coaching our Cloudburst team since we introduced our Tiny team, and now coaches our Tiny Prep Level 1 team, Baby Blizzard. This season she is competing with our senior Hurricane Extreme and Supreme Thunder teams. As well as this, Abbie runs our flyer stretch class on a Saturday. She also helps out with all fundraising events and fetes. Outside of Tornados Abbie does contemporary dance with the RnB dance company and assists at Dance House as a production assistant. Abbie is currently studying Sports Business and Management at Chichester University. 


This is coach Ria, this is her 11th season as a competitive cheerleader. She’s been a cheerleader since she was 8 years old and moved to Tornados 6 years ago. Coach Ria coaches Cloudburst and is an athlete in Supreme Thunder and Hurricane Extreme this season. She runs our Cheer for Fun class for new starters as well as helping out at fundraising events when possible.


Leah started cheerleading in 2009, moving to Sussex Tornados in 2014. She started in our Youth Level 2 team, and is now competing in our Senior Level 3 team. She was presented with Full Force 10's Athlete of the Year award in 2017, and has continued to build her skills. Leah joined our coaching programme in our 2017-2018 season as Team Captain of our Cloudburst team, and is now an Assistant Coach of our Tiny Prep Level 1 Baby Blizzard team. 


This is Demi and Gracie. They are both athletes in our Full Force 10, Supreme Thunder and Hurricane Extreme teams this season. Demi joined cheerleading in our Cheer 4 Fun team back in 2012, going into one of our competitive teams in 2013. Gracie started cheerleading in 2012 and joined the Tornados family in 2014. They have become incredible athletes, and have both won (and fully earned) athlete of the year twice each! They were both been places with our Tiny programme to start their coaching in 2019, currently Demi is with Baby Blizzard and Gracie is with Cloudburst.


As a Charity, the Board of Trustees make all decisions regarding the running and operation of the Sussex Tornados.



Phil has been with the Sussex Tornados since day 1 back in 1998, where he started coaching gymnastics skills. He then took on the role of Chairman of the Sussex Tornados when we became a registered Charity in 2011. He has always been, and will always be, a true and loyal friend to the Sussex Tornados.

Treasurer - Lillian Weston

Secretary - Stevie Coe

Head Coach/Co-Founder - Lianne Blackwood

Head Coach/Co-Founder - Helen Best

Coaches Representative/Programme Director - Carley Johnson

Cheerleaders Representative/Coach - Jordan Burdon

Parents Representative - Emma Babonau

Fundraising Secretary - Lisa Wickens

Trustee - Peter Weston

Should you wish to contact any of the Trustees, you can do so by emailing

[email protected] and your email will be directed accordingly.