Thousands of local people visited Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre on Saturday (22 September) to enjoy the newly refurbished facilities and meet double Olympic champion Max Whitlock MBE.
The event marked the official opening of the centre following a £1.3million refurbishment by leisure provider Everyone Active.
On the day, Whitlock was joined by Mayor of Dacorum, Cllr Rosie Sutton, to cut the ribbon and give the local community its first full taste of the newly renovated facilities which include upgraded studios, changing rooms and gym, which also boasts state-of-the-art fitness equipment.
The five-time Olympic medallist also treated the people of Hemel Hempstead to a performance of his world-class gymnastics skills before signing autographs for local fans.
“I'm very proud to officially open the new-look centre,” Whitlock said. “The improvements Everyone Active have made are incredible and the refurbished gym is one of the biggest gyms I’ve seen in a long time. The work that has been done is great for the local people who can now use such a great facility.”
Residents enjoyed a day of free activities including gym sessions, exercise classes, bouncy castle and family swimming session. In the sports hall, 40 people took part in a mass-participation Body Attack class before local basketball team, and 2017 English National Cup winners, Hemel Storm, beat Thames Valley Cavaliers by one basket (100 v 99).
Cllr Neil Harden, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “It is great to see the new sports provider investing substantial amounts of money in the Council's leisure facilities. We're pleased with the new refurbishment works and are confident that users of the leisure centre will enjoy the new facilities. The grand opening was a fantastic opportunity for the local community to try out the new facilities.”
Steve Salwa, Everyone Active general manager, said: “The family open day was a fantastic opportunity for the community to see the changes we’ve made to the centre. It was great to see so many people come through the door and to not just offer them the chance to meet Max [Whitlock], but also use the new-look facilities.
“We've worked closely with Dacorum Borough Council to produce a centre for the whole community to be proud of, and I would encourage everyone to come down and experience everything the centre has to offer.”