Track campaign sprints 
out of the starting blocks

THE RACE to keep our athletics track open has sprinted out of the starting blocks with the first 100 coupon milestone reached within just three weeks of launch.

Readers have been quick to back our campaign to keep the track at William Parker Sports College open for the long term.

Since the campaign was launched on August 31, we have received more than 150 coupons.

We aim to take the plight of the track to the Government and try to secure funding to maintain and keep it open.

The county council has no more funds to give to the track and the track’s management committee has little funding available.

So far we have had backing from Hastings Athletics Club, Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd, Hastings’ own double Olympian Sean Baldock, Mr Half Marathon, Eric Hardwick, MBE and the former headteacher of the college, Roger Mitchell.

Jean Wild, widow of local athletics legend Reg, has pledged to try and bring double Olympic Gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes and London Marathon winner Eamonn Martin back to the track to boost the bid.

Jean said: “I applaud what the Observer is doing and I back the bid wholeheartedly. I know my Eric would be right behind it too.

“It’s a very important part of the development of our future athletes and for the likes of Sean Baldock, that Olympic dream started here.
“Grass roots track and field events are crucial when it comes to building a future generation of British Olympians.”

We intend to collect several hundred coupons and take them directly to the Sports Minister Maria Miller to remind them of the lack of an Olympic legacy right here in Hastings.

Our next target is 200 coupons and together with the support of the great Hastings and St Leonards public we can beat those hurdles and reach the finishing line.

Peter Southee, chairman of the Athletics Track Committee, will meet with Amber Rudd and county councillor Matthew Lock at the college to discuss the issue.

Mr Southee praised the work of the Observer. He said: “I think the campaign is commendable and we need as many people as possible in our town to support it.

“We need lots more coupons to be sent in and get the kind of support going that the pier has received.

“Hopefully Amber Rudd will take our concerns to the Government and it will listen to us.

“There must be some money available to support a very worthy cause like this.”