PARALYMPIAN and former Henley College student Scott Moorhouse officially opened the college’s refurbished sports hall.
Watch our video of the opening and an interview with Scott here.
The 51-year-old hall on the college’s Rotherfield site has a new roof, floor, lighting and heating after the college was awarded a £1.2 million grant from the Government’s Young People’s Learning Agency last year.
The multi-purpose space is now suitable for a wide range of sports including football, badminton and netball as well as keep-fit and dance classes.
The hall was also extended to provide a fitness suite, new changing rooms and shower facilities at a total cost of £2 million.
Moorhouse, who finished seventh in the F42 javelin final at the Paralympics in London, said his return to the college was a “trip down memory lane”.
He said: “Local facilities play a major role in supporting athletes and their ambitions to become elite sports
people. Although I didn’t actually throw javelin here, I used to play basketball quite regularly in the hall. The new sports facilities are great.
When I was here I thought they were pretty good but now the students have got their own fitness suite.
“Rugby is a big sport at the college so it seems they’ve really got a lot of things that will really progress the training they do.”
Other invited guests included London Wasps and England under-20 rugby player Alec Hepburn, who is also a former student, Olympic rowing coach Mark Banks, Olympic rowing bronze medallist Will Satch and Henley stuntman Gary Connery.
Basketball team Reading Rockets, who run an academy at the college alongside Leander Club and London Wasps, gave a demonstration to mark the occasion.
College principal Tom Espley said the new-look hall was something the community could be proud of. He said: “We’ve invested money in it because sport is so important, not only to students here but to the
community of Henley and South Oxfordshire.
“Never have we had so many elite sports people in the college but equally I am proud that we have a commitment to sports for all and this sports hall and the relevant facilities will really help that to take off even more.”
Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin said she was “amazed” by the building’s transformation.
She said: “I think it’s a wonderful space and how fantastic in this year of sporting excellence.
“It makes sense that if you want people to succeed in sport you have to give them good facilities.”
More than 600 students at the college take part in a sport of some kind.
The college’s initial plan to create a new £2.5 million sports hall was abandoned last year after planning permission was refused following objections from nearby residents.