Page 36 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 36

Olympians open new sports facilities
Witham Hall School, Lincolnshire, welcomed Great Britain Olympian Crista Cullen MBE to formally open the new Sports Centre at the School. Ahead of cutting the ribbon, the gold medal winning hockey player paid tribute to
all concerned with the new facilities which she said “would undoubtedly serve to inspire
and encourage generations of young athletes, whatever their sporting interest and ability.” She encouraged all users to “fully embrace and enjoy everything that such an outstanding development can provide” suggesting that “few stand-alone Prep Schools across the country could have access to such facilities.”
The original Sports Hall building was decommissioned last summer, when construction of the new Sports Centre began. At 20,000 square feet, the new main hall offers pupils a host of indoor sporting opportunities for both curriculum PE and Games, while separately providing a sprung  oor Dance and Gymnastics Studio,
an AV Room for guest lectures, a full cardio and resistance Fitness Centre, as well as a suite of new changing, showering, catering and staff facilities. A roof-top viewing terrace overlooks the outdoor tennis and netball courts allowing spectators to enjoy watching sports as well as taking in the school’s  ne parkland setting at the same time.
Head Mr Charles Welch highlighted how the school “has always been pleased in how other local schools (including various local primary schools, as well as special needs institutions), local clubs and charitable community groups had been able to use the old facility, and is now really looking forward to being able to welcome these groups back to a modern and superbly equipped centre.”
Meanwhile, pupils and staff at
St. Neot’s School, Hampshire, celebrated as former Olympians and parents at the school, Fred Scarlett, a member of the Men’s Rowing 8s Gold medal winning team at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and Ben Sharpe, a member of the British Hockey Team who  nished in 6th place at the same Olympics, cut the ribbon to mark the of cial opening of the school’s new sports facilities.
These include a sports hall with
a full size tennis court,  ve mini tennis courts,  ve badminton courts, netball, basketball and four indoor cricket nets, as well as a viewing gallery for spectators. A new 25m swimming pool is already being used by pupils from Nursery upwards in their weekly swimming lessons. The facilities extend outdoors to include cricket nets, full size astro, and 3 hard court tennis courts in addition to the existing pitches set within the 70 acre grounds of the school.
Following the ceremony the school hosted a Festival of Sport. Pupils enjoyed using the facilities during their games lessons in addition
to competing in a number of tournaments and galas, including an U9 handball tournament in the sports hall, an U11 mixed doubles tennis tournament, an U11 hockey tournament and an U13 swimming gala. During the afternoon 6 different schools took part in the activities, with nearly 300 pupils
in total enjoying the new facilities. The school is also delighted to be able to offer the facilities to the wider community with a number of local clubs making use of the hall and pool in the evenings and at weekends.
Head, Deborah Henderson, thanked all those who had been involved in the planning and development of the project.
Pictured at St. Neot’s: Fred Scarlett, left, with Deborah Henderson and Ben Sharpe
Director of sport at the school, Jonny Smith, is delighted with
the facilities: ‘Sport is an integral part of daily life at St Neot’s, with traditional sports supplemented by a wide range of sports enrichment and extra-curricular options. We look forward to taking sport to the next level with the addition of our new facilities.’
Pictured at Witham Hall: Mr Jeremy Sharman – Chair of Governors, Mr Charles Welch – Headmaster, Miss Crista Cullen, Mr Luke Graham – Bursar
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36 Sport

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