HRH The Duke of Kent officially opened Inspire: Luton Sports Village on Friday (26 October) as part of an afternoon of sporting demonstrations showcasing the world class facilities at Luton’s new £26 million world class sports centre in Stopsley.
As part of his visit, HRH unveiled a plaque to mark the opening after receiving a tour of the building where a full programme of sports and activities were taking place.
Paralympic star Jonnie Peacock, the current world and Paralympic Games T4 class 100m record holder, also attended the opening and led an inter-school sports competition in the main sports hall which included a Q&A session with children.
The event, which was sponsored by Wates Construction, also included diving and swimming exhibitions in the competition pool for invited guests.
As part of his tour, HRH got to see specialist health-related personal training sessions in the gym including heart and lung patients who use the centre for rehabilitation and a group of cancer survivors who are participating in a pilot project looking at how low levels of regular exercise impact on survival and treatment success rates.
Other sports on display included Zumba and Body Pump classes, over 50s badminton sessions and an under fives mini-nastics class.
The event concluded with Jonnie Peacock starting a swimming race featuring representatives from three key partners involved in the Inspire project. Phil Jenkins from Active won the race ahead of Colin Chick from Luton Borough Council and Mark Tunstall from Wates Construction.
Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Borough Council, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved with Inspire so it was an incredible honour to give our Royal visitor a tour of the village.
“We have a number of initiatives in place to develop sports and leisure to improve health in the community so it was great to be given an opportunity to showcase these.
“With a world class centre like this, we now have a facility where we can produce and develop future sporting champions, so it was fitting that we had someone as inspirational as Jonnie Peacock attend.
“With huge numbers of people through the Inspire doors already, including many local people who have not previously accessed sports facilities, the investment is already paying off.”