A multi-purpose sports hall for use by children and the community has been officially opened at Upton Junior School grounds in Broadstairs.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was performed by former Upton pupil Prav Mathema, an acclaimed sports medic who is the current National Medical Manager of the Welsh Rugby Union, leading on medical matters within the Union.
At the gathering of children, staff, governors, friends of the school and civic dignitaries, he said: “This school is close to my heart. Forty years ago it laid the foundations for me to develop academically and as a person.
“The school’s ethos of One Childhood, One Chance is important. We all have to invest as much as we can in our children and make it count every single day.
“Those who have been part of this excellent project should be so proud. It will benefit children for years to come and who knows, it may inspire one of them to be the next sporting superstar.
“The true power of sport is irreplaceable. It makes our children stronger physically and mentally; it allows them to understand the importance of resilience, respect, discipline, teamwork, leadership and humility.”
There was also a touching moment when he met former staff member and ex-governor Chrissie Turner for the first time since he went to Upton with her son Richard. She said: “What a fantastic surprise. It was so special to see Prav again.”
Children from Upton and neighbouring school St Mildred’s Primary Infants School provided an enthusiastic athletics demonstration in the spacious sporting hub that also includes changing rooms, a kitchen area and toilet facilities to enable it to stand alone from the main building.
Michaela Lewis, Executive Head Teacher of the Viking Academy Trust that includes Upton, Chilton Primary (where Prav’s daughter is a pupil) and Ramsgate Arts Primary, praised the “wonderful team effort” that had contributed hugely to expanding Upton’s already impressive award-winning sporting resources.
She said: “This is the culmination of a lot of work over many months – today’s opening marks three years from the start of the funding bid, and it is a year from the beginning of on-site groundworks prior to construction.
“It will further boost sports provision at Upton and is also available for use by our local community. This demonstrates our ongoing desire to be at the heart of our community and our town.”