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Remembering Dr Amanda Croston

A specialist in Sport Psychology and PE Pedagogy, Mandy was a popular lecturer and colleague known for her rapport with students, her wit and her professionalism. 

Colleagues at Brunel University London pay tribute:

Mandy had a lifelong interest in sports and studied Physical Education at Crewe & Alsager College of Higher Education.  After graduating she taught at Leytonstone School and served as their Head of PE. In 1998 she attained a Graduate Associate Teacher (PE & Coaching) position at Springfield College, MA, USA and received an MSc Physical Education (Sport Psychology) in 2000.

When she returned to the UK, Mandy took a post as a senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University where she set up and ran their PGCE in Physical Education. She came to Brunel as a Lecturer in Coaching, Performance & Pedagogy in November 2004 where she was a mainstay of teaching and student experience in the Division of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences until her retirement through ill health in 2016.

Throughout her career Mandy dedicated herself to enhancing the experiences of others, whether through her teaching, research, or when practicing as a sports psychologist.

As a lecturer in child development, youth sport, sport pedagogy and sport psychology her priority was to make learning exciting, challenging and accessible to all students. Serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies for Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences for three years, she played a key role in the development of six degree programmes, ensuring they were designed to enrich the student experience. It was unsurprising that in 2015 students nominated her as a remarkable and inspirational Brunel woman.

Mandy also worked as a Sport Psychology consultant and received her British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accreditation in 2007. She provided sport psychology support to athletes from regional to international level, in trampolining, rugby, football and handball. She was part of an expert panel for the FA delivering sport psychology support to the England women's game for three years. She worked closely with the national women's coach Hope Powell to support teams and helped develop a strategy for the Football Association to implement sport psychology across all women's squads.

Mandy's research interests were similarly focused on improving experiences and practices in sport and Physical Education. She was committed to re-imagining talent in Physical Education in a way that was inclusive of all levels and abilities.

In 2014 she completed her PhD on 'The Construction and Experience of Ability in Physical Education' and began publishing and presenting her work in national and international forums. Her unassuming manner belied the significance of her research and the contribution it had to make to enhancing knowledge, understanding and practice in the UK and beyond. The enthusiastic reception her scholarly work received surprised only her.

Beyond her PhD Mandy was an industrious co-investigator on several influential externally funded projects. Her work with her colleague Laura Hills for the Football Association widened girls' access to the nation's largest sport, securing five changes in National Policy that increased the age limit for mixed gender participation from under-11 to under-18. Mandy also worked with Laura on research with the UsGirls initiative, part of SportEngland's national Active Women campaign. The UsGirls research helped to engage over 30,000 disadvantaged young women in sport and the project won the National Lottery Sport Project of the Year award in 2013.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Mandy's passions were her family and friends, her partner, basketball - and Elvis. She excelled in sports from a young age. She played hockey and netball in school, was an accomplished swimmer and became a certified lifeguard at the age of 16. She began playing basketball in college and continued to play with and coach numerous teams including the Havering Hotshots, the Bobcats, the London Cruisers, and the London Jets. She also coached the Brunel University Women's basketball team.

We will greatly miss Mandy as a colleague and friend. She was supportive, inspiring and entertained us all with her jokes and love of puns. In Mandy's words, 'Je reste ma valise'.