The Communities Secretary, was accompanied by Councillor Stephen Castle, Essex County Council Cabinet Member responsible for Education and the 2012 Games. They toured the Olympic Mountain Bike venue where GB Under 23 elite rider, Grant Ferguson, demonstrated how to cycle the course.
Councillor Castle commented, ‘I was delighted to welcome Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles to our Olympic Mountain Bike venue. It was fantastic to demonstrate how the Olympic spirit is alive and well in Essex and show him how we plan to make the most of the Games coming to Essex, whilst creating a lasting legacy for the County.’
Whilst in Hadleigh, Mr Pickles also toured Hadleigh Old Fire Station, which has been converted into a vibrant cultural and community hub. As can be seen, he was delighted to switch on the station’s renovated clock, which has been switched off since the station’s decommissioning. Mr Pickles concluded his tour in Hadleigh by presenting an Inspire Mark to pupils from Hadleigh Juniors in reference to their ‘Team Hadleigh’ project.
After a successful and enjoyable visit Communities Secretary Eric Pickles commented, ‘We are on track for a great Games in 2012. It’s going to be an amazing chance to showcase to the world; the best of what Britain and Essex has to offer. Essex already has seen Olympic success through home-grown heroes like Sally Gunnell and Dean Macey, I hope these games will inspire more young people to become Essex Ambassadors or get involved in sport and help leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.’
An Olympic and Paralympic first, the London 2012 Inspire programme enables non-commercial organisations across the UK to link their events and projects to the London 2012 Games in an official scope. From Wales to the East of England, from the South West to Yorkshire and Humber – more than 2000 projects and events have been awarded the coveted Inspire mark for their work in one of six areas: sustainability, education, volunteering, business, sport or culture.
Hadleigh Old Fire Station
Essex County Council purchased Hadleigh Fire Station and converted it to provide studios, community offices and a large exhibition and events space. It will also be the base for the mountain biking event of the 2012 Olympic Games .
Team Hadleigh Project
Essex County Council Arts Development and Heritage Teams were recently awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver Team Hadleigh, an ambitious project which will engage a wide range of communities with their local heritage through several interlinked projects. Local schools will participate in a series of heritage activities to research and document the history of Hadleigh Country Park and 2012 Mountain Bike site. This will then inform the work of a group of older residents who will use the school children’s research as the starting point for the creation of large scale textile heraldic banners telling the history of Hadleigh. The research will also be the starting point for a new guided audio tour of Hadleigh Country Park and will inform the creation of an App and associated website which will take people around the sites.