Fundraising effort for �1.7m Hertfordshire sports hall

A CHARITY has been formed to help fund an all-in-one �1.7m sports hub.

Multi-sports facility The John Clements Sports and Community Centre is to replace the old and dilapidated hall in Codicote in 2012, as reported in the Welwyn Hatfield Times last year.

So far �200,000 has been raised for the hub, which will feature a five-a-side football pitch, tennis courts and a bowls lawn, as well as function rooms and a youth club.

And last month an official charity – The John Clements Sports and Community Trust – was launched, alongside the application for funding from the National Lottery via Sport England and the National Governing Bodies of Sports.

Jim Park, project director for the centre, named in memory of a former PE teacher at Sherrardswood School who gave his life saving 35 children in a Italian hotel fire in 1976, told the WHT he hopes the proposal will be completed in the Olympic year.

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He said: “We believe the new Sports and Community Centre, targeted for 2012 completion, would be a fitting tribute to the memory of John Clements.

“Moreover it would be an inspiring sporting and community legacy to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and would fit well with the goals of John Fuller and the Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners team who are fully supportive of our initiative.”

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The new centre will replace the old 1970s sports and social club, which was originally designed for 80 to 90 people and is now used by more than 500. It will include cricket nets, a frisbee area, aerobic and yoga facilities, a basketball/netball and volleyball court, fitness classes, as well as a licensed bar, a children’s activity area and a room to hire.

Mr Park, a governor at the University of Hertfordshire, who spent 30 years running international businesses in ICI, added: “To date the cash has been raised in sizeable pledges of �10,000 up to �60,000 from local clubs, individuals, charitable foundations and local authorities (the parish and district councils).

“It is clear from our work to date, that the more money and support we can raise locally, the better chance there is of getting major support from the large funder, so we are looking for as much support as possible.”

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