8 Oct 2012
Friday 5 October 2012, only eight weeks after the excitement of the London 2012 Mountain Bike event, the Hadleigh Farm Olympic Mountain Bike venue once again came to life, as Essex County Council and The Salvation Army teamed up with British Cycling to host a number of sporting and cultural activities at the venue. While the venue will not be open to the public until Legacy works have been completed, the event has allowed Essex school children and Salvation Army volunteers to experience the Olympic venue first hand and build skills in mountain biking and other areas within sight of where the Olympic Medalists were standing just eight weeks ago .
Local school children along with trainees from The Salvation Army’s Hadleigh Training Centre, which re-trains people with special educational and other needs, took part in a day of cultural and sporting activities. They were treated to the unique opportunity of attending a series of Go-Ride cycle coaching sessions on special tracks next to the Olympic Mountain Bike track, focussed on teaching basic skills and improving confidence and ability on a mountain bike. The days activities also included Orienteering, arts and crafts, smoothy bikes , novelty bikes and walking tours of the Olympic course. Volunteering and helping with running today’s events were the members of Hadleigh Mountain Bike club, Essex Ambassadors and competitors from the Mud Sweat and Gears series.
Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for Education, Life Long Learning and the 2012 Games commented: “It’s great to know the course is back in action once again. The children had such a wonderful day and what a wonderful example of how we can use the venue in the future. I am thrilled that Essex County Council can soon begin work to adapt this fabulous venue into something the whole County can use and be proud of.”
John Warner, Hadleigh Farm Co-ordinater for The Salvation Army said: "The people supported by The Salvation Army at our Hadleigh Training Centre have already gained enormously from their involvement with London 2012. Today's activities and the chance to provide catering services for such an event have given them more positive experiences which they've really enjoyed. We are looking forward to providing even more opportunities through our legacy plans for Hadleigh Farm."
Councillor Mrs Pamela Challis OBE, Leader of Castle Point Borough Council said: “ I am delighted so many students enjoyed the coaching sessions and cultural and sporting events at Hadleigh Farm today. The Mountain Bike course set in the beautiful countryside in the Borough provides the perfect place for young people to be inspired by the legacy of London 2012”.
Essex County Council, in partnership with The Salvation Army, recently secured planning permission to retain and adapt the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike course for use by the public, as well as expand and enhance Hadleigh Country Park, providing opportunities for people to more fully access, enjoy and appreciate the area’s natural historic environment and more training opportunities for The Salvation Army enabling it to support even more vulnerable people. The legacy plans include a Visitors Centre, Café, bike hire shop and network of multi user walking and cycling tracks.