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Eton Dorney Centre to close after 44 years

Eton Dorney Centre to close after 44 years

Emma Billingham

Eton Dorney Centre to close after 44 years

A centre that has provided respite for children for 44 years will be closing this summer.

The Eton Dorney Centre in Lake End Road was set up in 1972 with the primary aim of providing holidays in the countryside for underprivileged children from Britain’s inner cities.

Using the old Dorney vicarage building, the Eton Dorney Trust ran the centre with the sponsorship of Eton College, the Diocese of Oxford and Dorney Parish.

But the trustees have made the decision to close the centre after it was found to be no longer justifiable to pay for the upkeep of the old building.

John Wood-Dow, chairman of the trustees, said: “It was a hard decision to come to, to wind down operations but we could not longer justify the upkeep of the building, especially as the primary purpose it was set up for is no longer as relevant.”

The Eton Dorney Centre is also a place that various charities from around the country use for respite stays and retreats.

In 1990 children who were affected by the Chernobyl disaster were guests at the centre.

More recently the Wisdom Project has been hosted at the centre, a scheme set up by the trustees to bring together young people of different faiths and backgrounds to foster inter-faith understanding.

Mr Wood-Dow, who has been on the board of trustees for 20 years, added: “It has done some fantastic work over the last 40 years and everyone who has been involved should be really proud.”

New locations for some of the groups that use the building are being sought and it is hoped the Wisdom Project will continue at a new venue.

The Eton Dorney Centre will close in June and be handed back to the Diocese of Oxford.

It is not known what will happen to the building.

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