On 18 March 2014, Olympic Commonwealth and European Championships medallist, and BBC Chief Athletics Commentator, Steve Cram joined representatives from badminton England, Sport England, Yorkshire Bank, the school community, Harrogate dignitaries including the Mayor of Harrogate, and local media to official open the £100,000 development.
The badminton hub, which will serve the region’s badminton clubs and local residents as well as the school’s own students, has received an £83,000 cash injection from badminton England, as well as financial support from the school itself. It features four badminton courts, state of the art lighting, flooring and a wealth of high quality equipment.
Student advice – During the course of the day, Steve Cram, Ambassador for Yorkshire Bank, held Q&A sessions on broadcasting with A level and Year 11 media students, presented information on sporting careers with Key Stage 4 PE students, met St John Fisher’s elite sportsmen and women in the fitness suite and talked to the school’s existing badminton club players before officially opening the new centre to the public.
Drawing on his sporting and media experience, Steve advised students on how to get ahead in their chosen career.
Steve Cram said: There is a lot of talent in the world,” he said, “but it’s hard work that wins the day. You need to find something that you are passionate about, and become an expert in it, whether it’s practicing sport, music, or writing, or learning everything you can about something you are interested in. You need to start now. After around 10,000 hours, you will become proficient, and it’s then that you will start to achieve success!
Serving the community – Paul Jackson, Headteacher at St John Fisher, explained: We have had a long history of sporting achievement at the school and a proud record of working with other local partners. Being able to facilitate a high quality regional badminton hub enables us to support the ongoing development of sport both within the school and the wider community.
We are immensely proud of this new development, which, in addition to our community fitness suite, marks the completion of the first stage in our extensive plans to improve our sporting facilities. Future plans involve the development of an artificial playing surface at the school, which will benefit school and local residents alike.
Jacqui Atkinson, Yorkshire Bank’s Community Affairs Manager, said: The new hub is a wonderful addition for the region and Yorkshire Bank is delighted to be able to support the official opening of such an important community resource.
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive of badminto England, commented: We are delighted to support these improvements in St John Fisher, which will provide a fitting home to both our North Yorkshire Badminton Performance Centre, and to local players, giving the access to the best possible facilities as part of our drive to increase the number of people playing badminton regularly. We look forward to working with the school to develop a badminton programme to suit all ages and abilities.