Athletics track relay race approches finishing line

Work about to start on the running trach at William Parker. Hastings. 27/8/13''Deputy Head David Evans.
Work about to start on the running trach at William Parker. Hastings. 27/8/13''Deputy Head David Evans.

JUST a year ago time was fast running out for the athletics track at William Parker Sports College.

The management committee which ran the track had no funds left to repair the crumbling surface and it was threatened with closure.

As the only running track in the Hastings borough, The Observer mounted a campaign to raise awareness of its plight after the success of the 2012 London Olympics.

Supporter and readers sent in more than 4,000 coupons as part of our Save Our Track campaign.

The county council originally said it would not be spending any more money on the track leaving the committee with a funding crisis.

But shortly after new committee chairman Clive Galbraith took over, ESCC changed its position and decided to provide up to £77,000 of funding.

Contractors moved onto the site earlier this month and are now busy repairing and relaying the surface. It is expected to be complete shortly after the new term starts on September 16.

“It’s been a remarkable turnaround,” said assistant headteacher David Evans. “Just 12 months ago we were faced with having to close the track down.

“Now we are even planning a mini-Olympics next year for all the ARK schools in the country.”

The track is being cleaned up before the cracks and holes are filled in with special recycled rubber bits made from old car tyres.

It will be then resprayed and then remarked with all new white lines and lane numbers.

Once the job is complete it is hoped a toilet block will be built on site using any leftover funds.

Talks are also under way for the new track to host an Olympic style event for all the ARK academy schools which are based in London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and the Hastings area.

From next month the school becomes an ARK Academy and the event would be seen as a showcase for the relayed track.

Mr Evans added: “The athletics event would be a great occasion for the school to stage especially after all the challenges that we have had in recent years.

“This is one of the benefits of moving into Academy status as we can invite partner schools to come and use our facilities and vice versa.

“We are very excited about getting the track repaired and hope that it will generate more interest in local athletics.

“It should be good for at least another 10 years

“It’s a very important part of our college and we’re very grateful to ESC, Hastings BC, The Observer, the track committee and everyone who has played their part in making it viable for the future.” The track is open to members of the public to use for an annual fee of £30. For information call Mr Evans on 01424 448222