THE Hastings & St Leonards Observer has sprung out of the blocks in a new campaign to try and secure the long-term future of a crucial sporting asset for our community.
As we have been reporting in the last two editions, the athletics tracks at William Parker Sports College is under serious threat of closure.
Following the huge success of the London Olympics we are asking Prime Minister David Cameron whether any dreams of the games inspiring a generation were real or just real rhetoric.
Last week we told how little Hannah Blomfield had written to Mr Cameron begging him to help save the track from closure.
With the help of the people of this proud town, we feel Hannah’s and many more voices like hers need to be heard on a bigger stage. Please show your support. Buy a copy of last Friday’s edition, fill in and return the coupon on page five so we can take it right to the top.
The Observer has already started to receive letters of support for Hannah’s case.
Jane Hunter of Wellington Square wrote:
“You’ve got to admire Hannah Blomfield for making a case for the running-track at William Parker Sports College on your front page on Friday.
“How has it come to this? Hastings borough council has loads of money, spent on senseless projects and silly plans. Right now, £100,000,000, yes Hannah, one hundred million pounds, is being spent digging up fields for a five mile stretch of road.
“South East England Development Agency, has a word with Hastings Borough Council, HBC, who talks to East Sussex County Council, ESCC, they mention it to the Member of Parliament, MP, and the Department for Transport (DfT) and lots of others with letters with their names. They often set up a taskforce as well.
“In this case, the school’s people may be involved, and the Olympic legacy malarkey. Millions of pounds are spent doing this, it’s where the money for resurfacing the running-track is gone, and not one person, or project manager, cares enough to take the lead.
“Some things are done quickly, to make a mark, like a basketball court on the beach. Other things take longer, by which time they are out of date. The authorities should sort out the running-track, they can get it fixed right-away. With a sense of purpose, they can get the funds pledged by those who signed the agreement to maintain the track.”
Vanessa Harrison wrote: “My concern about the track is the Special Olympics group who use it on Sunday mornings. will return in September to use the track in preparation for the GB Games in London next year.
“I used to help coach this committed group of athletes in their preparations for the last GB Games in Glasgow (2005) and Leicester (2009) before I retired.
“I know the coaches who work hard with these committed athletes and they will be devastated if this facility is not available to the group they have used it for years turning out in all weathers right through the winter. They bring medals back to Hastings they are a wonderful group of people.”
Derek Cole wrote: “Hastings Council and William Parker face a possible heavy repayment of grant to Sport England as they both agreed to keep the track open for 30 years. Although it is the landowner, the County Council, who will be billed for the amount, the agreement implies that the Education Committee can look to the Borough and the School for reimbursement, as they will both have failed in their contractual obligations. As an academic lawyer from Cambridge, this was the opinion I gave to a member of the Management Committee some time ago.
“Athletics is not one sport but 14 suitable for enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. A track is the biggest single facility for purposeful activity for the young. The innumerable friendly training evenings are more important than its use for competition. Steve Cram has said that he became a World Champion because Gateshead A.C. was the best Youth Club in town. Jessica Ennis says the duty of the club coaches, who are voluntary and unpaid, is to cultivate enjoyment and pleasure. With Hannah Blomfield they seem to have succeeded. Don’t let her down.” If you have any views about the track email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org