Campaign to save track quick off mark

OUR campaign to secure the future of the running track at William Parker Sports College has been quick out of the starting blocks and is quickly gathering momentum.

More than 20 readers have already shown their support for our campaign to keep the track open for the long term.

Last week the Observer launched Save Our Track to try and secure government funding for the facility which is vital for the development of our young athletes.

Last month we revealed how youngsters face a 20 mile tip out of town to train and race in competitions as the track slowly wears out.

There is currently no funding available to resurface the track which could cost up to £300,000 to repair.

Our initial target is 100 signatures from our cut-out coupons and we would urge as many people as possible to back the bid.

Little Hannah Blomfield, a member of Hastings Athletics Club, has written to David Cameron asking him to help save the track.

She is still waiting for a response but is starting her own petition in the meantime.

The former headteacher of William Parker School was one of the first to back the campaign.

Roger Mitchell, head from 1981 to 1997, was instrumental in helping secure funds to get the old cinder track replaced at the school with the current facility.

In 1998 he helped open the track with Dame Kelly Holmes.

He wrote: “From the outset we knew that the track surface had a limited life span of the order of 15 - 20 years, depending on use.

“It has been a matter of personal sadness to me that ways of building up a sinking fund for eventual replacement have not been found.

“I remain as convinced now as I was 20 years ago that the development of the talent of young people in our town deserves excellent facilities available locally. Travel to distant venues is expensive and inconvenient, sapping emerging enthusiasm.

“I therefore wholeheartedly applaud the Observer initiative in giving such a strong lead to renovate the track at William Parker Sports College.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd has welcomed the campaign and urged readers to back it.

She said: “I wholeheartedly support what the Observer is doing. Once we get enough coupons we can take them to Downing Street and make our voices heard there.”

Jean Wild, widow of club legend Reg Wild, former coach and chairman, said: “Reg would be heartbroken if he was here today.

“The track was his life. He fought so hard to get the new track.

“I think it’s disgusting. If David Cameron’s kids went to a track like this they would sort it out straight away.

“Why are we the poor relation? Our kids are as good as any other. The track keeps them entertained and off the streets. We must have the funding.”
Please fill in the coupon and send it back to us. What do you think about the track? Email your thoughts to