DCSIMG

Year of sport secures city’s active future

Active: Ellen Cowell, eight, from Grimsargh St Michaels and Jamie Webster from Chipping St Marys Primary takes part in a netball event at Preston College to mark the end of Prestons year as European City of Sport. Below, the flagship Preston Guild marathon, which was held in October

Active: Ellen Cowell, eight, from Grimsargh St Michaels and Jamie Webster from Chipping St Marys Primary takes part in a netball event at Preston College to mark the end of Prestons year as European City of Sport. Below, the flagship Preston Guild marathon, which was held in October

A gathering of netball players provided a fitting end to Preston’s year as European City of Sport.

Teams from the past, present and future met at Preston College to showcase their skills, providing the 100th - and final - event of a sport-filled 12 months.

Although it was the final event, Netball Evolution 
allowed organisers to demonstrate that the year was not just about the here and now, but also about the future.

It featured players from the Back to Netball scheme and Preston Netball Club as well as a number of under-10s school teams.

And Jimmy Kham, head of Sport and Leisure with Preston City Council, said he was confident that the benefits of being European City of Sport (ECOS) would be long-lasting.

He said: “We pledged to deliver 100 or more sporting events in 12 months.

“The majority of these have been with schools, but we’ve also had headline events like the Sky Ride, which attracted 7,500 participants.”

He said this mass participation event aimed to involve people from across the generations in a 6km bike ride starting on the Flag Market.

Jimmy said: “We’ve also has a marathon and half marathon during the Guild and although the weather was horrible we had a number of positive comment from people.

“Then in July we hosted the Corporate Games, something we did on the back of gaining the ECOS status.”

As a result of this successful event, which attracted 8,000 participants, Jimmy said there were now plans to hold an annual Preston City Games, starting next May.

Yvonne Ashcroft, Preston’s cycling officer for British Cycling, said that there was a huge spin-off from the year.

She said: “We ran the Grand Prix in Preston for seven years to get people involved in cycling but it never really took off no matter how hard we tried.

“But the Sky Ride was a real success. As a result of that we now run the Sky Ride local and Sky Ride plus schemes, which are guided rides on different lengths and they are really popular.

Preston City Council’s programme of events for ECOS has been run in conjunction with a number of partners, including the University of Centre Lancashire and Preston College.

 

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