The countdown to the Olympics in 2012 is well under way in Wokingham Borough with over 1,500 people attending a special event on Saturday (July 23).
The event, at Dinton Pastures Country Park in Hurst, marked one year to go until the London Olympics and Paralympics. And, hundreds of local people met Olympic rower Anna Watkins, who told them about her preparations for London 2012.
Families from all over the borough enjoyed a wide range of activities from an army assault course, water sports and Sumo wrestling to table top football, golf putting, and basketball. Wokingham Borough Council’s library service was also on hand telling tales and scintillating stories to families in the park.
Borough Mayor Cllr Dianne King opened the event and said: "This event promised to be a great way to celebrate the one-year countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games in London and it didn’t disappoint. It was wonderful to see so many families bringing along their picnic and soaking up the atmosphere of Dinton Pastures Country Park, seeing at first hand all it has to offer.
"With only a year to go until Britain hosts the Olympics there are so many activities for local people to get involved in. Why not sign up for one of the many events that are taking place over the coming months? It will be a good chance to get fit and active whilst having fun at the same time."
The event at Dinton Pastures was organised by the Inspire Wokingham: Living the Legacy campaign. It’s a brand new programme of events for all ages to enjoy sport and activity on their doorstep. There are activities that will help to reduce the drop-out rate from sport for those aged 16 to 19; thatwill give families a chance to enjoy being active together as well as giving adults of all ages some fantastic opportunities to play sports they loved when they were younger.
Through the Inspire Wokingham programme, there are new clubs starting for children and adults with disabilities to try out new sports and activities in both structured and informal ways, and there are plenty of ways in which you can get involved in volunteering too. Inspire Wokingham is run by the Wokingham 2012 Legacy Group, which includes the Wokingham School Sport Partnership, Wokingham Borough Council, FBC Centre in Finchampstead, Woodley Town Council, Leisure Connections, Berkshire West Primary Care Trust and local sporting organisations and clubs. For full details of all the activities please the council's sport website page.
Wokingham Borough Council sport and leisure coordinator Beverley Thompson said: "There is a real buzz around the 2012 Olympics and with only a year to go until this fantastic event comes to Britain, we want to tap into that excitement to get people playing sports and being active. There are opportunities for all ages and abilities across the borough to get involved, so whether you are trying something for the first time or returning to a sport you played many years ago, this is the chance to give it a go."
People who missed Saturday’s event haven’t missed their only chance. There are plenty more opportunities for residents, young and old, to get involved in sport and healthy activities in the lead up to the Olympics next year.
From September 9, Friday evenings will be full of fun, excitement and competition thanks to Sportsfest. Every Friday from 7.30pm and 9.30pm, Loddon Valley Leisure Centrewill bejam-packed with new sports as well as old favourites, such as dodgeball, invasion games, uni-hoc and 5-a-side football Why not sign up with family, school friends, work colleagues or neighbours? The sessions are open to anyone aged over 14 and cost only£1 per person.
From Saturday September 10, Inspire Wokingham is launching All play together. Every Saturday, between 10am and 11am and 11am and midday, families can enjoy sporting activities in a relaxed atmosphere a the FBC Centre in Finchampstead. These sessions give families an opportunity to try games to improve children’s basic development such as climbing, throwing, jumping and balancing. Sessions are free but booking is essential by calling (0118) 908 8158.