Double Olympic champion welcomes local people to official Leisure Centre opening

One of Britain’s most celebrated Olympians will be coming back to where it all began when he visits Hemel Hempstead later this month.

Double Olympic champion, Max Whitlock MBE, will be at Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre on Saturday 22 September to celebrate the completion of a £1.3million refurbishment project.

Families are invited to come and meet the gymnastics star, as well as enjoy a host of free activities at the centre, including gym sessions, exercise classes, bouncy castle and a family swimming session at 2pm. A free mass-participation Body Attack class will also take place in the sports hall at 2pm.

Max, who was born in Hemel Hempstead, has won medals at every level of competition throughout his career and at Rio 2018 he became Great Britain’s first gymnastics Olympic champion. He will cut the ribbon to open the centre at 10am before meeting with guests and showcasing his world-leading skills.

Local basketball team, and 2017 English National Cup winners, Hemel Storm, will also be on hand to show their skills before taking on Thames Valley Cavaliers during a home game in the evening.

Everyone Active took on the management of Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre on behalf of Dacorum Borough Council in April. Since then, it has undertaken a large project to renovate the studios, changing rooms and gym, installing the latest fitness equipment. The group cycling studio has also been extended and refurbished as part of the works. The open day will be the community’s first opportunity to see the fully reopened facilities.

Steve Cox, Everyone Active contract manager, said: “We are delighted with the improvements that have been made. We’ve worked hard to ensure that the new-look centre offers top-quality provision, and are looking forward to offering the community the first chance to see the finished centre.

“It’s very exciting that Max will be joining us on the day. He is a brilliant example of where hard work and dedication in sport can lead, and it’s fantastic to have him back where it all began.”

Max, who won two golds and a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, said: “I love coming back to Hemel Hempstead and to see the changes that have been made to the centre is fantastic. I started my career at the Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre and I hope that everyone in the community is excited to experience the new facilities available.”

Councillor Neil Harden, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services said “Everyone Active’s investment in Hemel Hempstead’s Leisure Centre has provided a great boost for local sport and fitness opportunities in the area; and is a positive example of the public and private sector working together to help make a difference to people’s lives.

“It has been particularly important to me that the Leisure Centre is accessible to all.  And I urge everyone to come along and try the new state-of-the-art facilities and find out more about what’s on offer.”

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