04:00AM, Friday 27 June 2014
Important figures from the sporting world flocked to Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre for the unveiling of its multi-million pound new facilities.
More than 200 people attended the centre in Marlow Road on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the £7m project that took more than a year to build.
Sports Minister Helen Grant MP officially opened the development watched by guests including Olympic rowing champion Katherine Grainger, councillors, representatives from national sporting bodies and Bisham residents.
The minister said: “This impressive redevelopment project, funded by Sport England National Lottery money, will continue to make sure our athletes remain in the best possible condition to be successful."
The opening was followed by speeches and a public tour.
Sport England's money has funded a new cafe and restaurant, exercise studio, changing rooms and extended gym.
A new 50-bedroom accommodation block has also been built and replaced what Sport England property director Charles Johnston described as the 'ghastly' bedrooms there before.
The walls of the corridors leading into the bedrooms are lined with pictures and facts which relate Great Britain's sporting successes since Bisham Abbey was first designated a national sports centre in 1947.
A section of the walls have been left blank to provide space for future achievements.
Improvements to the existing grass football pitch, a new Desso football pitch which is an exact replica of Wembley's playing surface, and an all weather 3G pitch were also funded as part of the project.
Mr Johnston said: "We have created something here that is a fantastic asset for the local community and for sport."
He added: "Some people think because it's a national sports centre it's not for them but it is.
"We want to use this re-opening to make people more aware that we are here and that people can come and use it."
About 50 per cent of people that already use the centre are from the Windsor and Maidenhead area.
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