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Meet the Eagles

The people who make everything happen!


JC Lacour


After a stint as a 2nd team player a few years earlier, JC joined the club in 2018 as a result of the merger with Ealing HC following several years of partnership between the 2 clubs. He co-founded highly successful junior-only Ealing HC where he was Secretary, Team Manager, Coach and proud handball dad and where he led a successful engagement programme with Ealing high schools to promote handball as a participation sport and recruit players. Prior to that, JC played handball in his native France in secondary school and at university.

Paul Dempsey.jpg

Paul Dempsey

Women's head coach

Paul is a former West London Eagles player and coach but returned to the Eagles in 2017 to fulfill his current role. His other achievements include appearances for Great Britain and he has played professionally in both Iceland and Denmark.


Anna Thornhill

Seniors Director

Shortlisted for Ealing Adult volunteer of the year in 2023.

Where you're from: Poland

Years spend with handball: since 10 years old

Court position: left wing

Favourite Eagles memory: seeing my teammates in person at training after Covid restrictions were lifted

What do you love about handball: the comradery of the team and pace of the game


Peter Gannon

Junior director, U14s coach

Shortlisted for 2020 Ealing Sports Awards in adult volunteer category. Peter is the head coach of the U14 section, winning national championship in 2022 with U14 girls.


Erika Recska

Welfare Officer

Erika joined the Eagles in 2008 and since then had won 4 National Championships and 5 EHA Cups with us. Before joining Eagles, she played handball from the age of 13 in Hungary with one year of break in 2013 to have her twin boys. During London Olympics in 2012 Erika was promoting handball in Hyde Park. She works in education and has always been passionate about encouraging children to take part in physical activities and leading a healthy lifestyle.


Tomasz Kawa

Comms director, Men's team manager

Tomasz joined the Eagles in 2014, having previously played handball in Poland for 9 years. In 2019/2020 season he has taken over as director of communications and social media.


Janet Nichols


Janet joined the club in 1973 and was part of the 1st team in the UK to gain success in Europe reaching the last 16 of the European Champions Cup in 1979, being knocked out of the cup by finalists Inter Bratislava. She played 2 seasons in Germany from 1981-1983 for SFN Vechta, having been scouted whilst competing for the Eagles in an international tournament in Germany. She gained her first international cap aged 15 and continued to compete for England and Great Britain for the next 28 years including 2 World Championships, finishing her international career in commonwealth games held in Kenya, aged 43. Janet has been Treasurer of the club since 1988.


Aleksander Djelic

Men's head coach

Aleks started playing handball in primary school back in 1985 in Serbia. After a year he joined a local club which played in the Premier League. In 1990 he moved to Belgrade where he played for Red Star Handball Club for several years. Since 2018 he has been the coach of our U16 Boys' team, which he led to winning the national championship in 2019. In 2022 he took over coaching the senior men's team and led it the same year to the league bronze and cup silver.


Marc Fayemi

Director of development

Marc’s first touch of a handball was in the late 1980’s in his hometown of Dourdan (France!) and he has been passionate about the spot ever since. He joined the Eagles in January 2005 and has been active in the management of the men’s team in various roles and capacities since 2008. His best moments in an Eagles jersey have been winning the EHA Cup in 2010 and taking part in several European Challenge Cup campaigns. He was also a handball technical official at the London 2012 Olympics and was voted England Handball’s Coach of the Year 2015!


Maria Seri

Women's team manager

Maria has been women’s secretary since 2008; which was only her second season with West London Eagles! She oversees registering the club for leagues and tournaments, dealing with transfers and communicating information to the players. She has played handball since she was 12 years old but has had a few breaks; 3 years to start a family and another 5 when she first came to live in England.


Melanie Chowns

Former Chairwoman, player, senior's and junior's coach

Mel has been a member of the club since 1972, when she joined as a player from school. She played continuously for the Eagles for the next 24 years before going on to coach the women’s team through a highly successful period, winning the league and double consistently throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. Mel represented England and Great Britain at U18, U21 and seniors, where she was made captain and was also the Team Manager for the Team GB women’s handball team in the London 2012 Olympics. Since standing down as women’s coach, Mel has focused on junior development and is the U16/U18 girls coach of our partner club Ealing HC and recently coached the Ealing Team to gold medal success at the London Youth Team.


Paul Bray

Founder of the junior section (formerly Ealing HC)

Paul Joined the club in 2018 as a result of the merger with Ealing HC, where he had been co-founder, chair and one of the coaches. He was one of the founders of Great Dane men’s team (now London GD) where he played and coached from 1978-1995. Paul played for GB in the 1970-80’s and later coached the GB Junior men then GB women in the 1980-90’s. Paul was responsible for developing and overseeing the plans to prepare the GB teams for the London 2012 Olympics, and is now British Handball Chairman. He is also a familiar voice on television where he has commentated handball matches on various channels for almost 30 years. Paul’s son Oliver also has close ties with the club having played for Ealing and West London Eagles, and he is also a member of GB team.

Meet the Eagles: Coaches
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