Portsmouth school hopes hall will compete with the best

NEW ERA From left, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lynne Stagg, pupil Sophie Saynor, pupil Olivia Campion, headteacher Simon Graham, pupil Joe Brickley-Wood and Jimmy Adams. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133105-023)
NEW ERA From left, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lynne Stagg, pupil Sophie Saynor, pupil Olivia Campion, headteacher Simon Graham, pupil Joe Brickley-Wood and Jimmy Adams. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133105-023)
Yousef Alam 6, Isabella Doyle 6, Halle Wellham 6, George McKechnie 6 and Isabel Manchip 6 with one of the islands they made out of papier mache

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A NEW school sports hall which will benefit the local community has been opened by a Hampshire cricketer.

The £1.35m sports hall has been opened at St Edmund’s Catholic School in Landport, Portsmouth, to pupils and the public.

The sports hall includes full-sized badminton, basketball and netball courts and a dance studio.

Jimmy Adams is the captain of Hampshire County Cricket Club. He was there to open the sports hall.

He said: ‘Facilities like these in schools are a huge part of introducing kids to any sport, not just cricket.

‘I was only asked the other week by a cricket group whether there is a lack of cricket in schools.

‘I appreciate it is very difficult to tick every box but I do feel sport can be neglected at times.

‘But I believe schools can provide a huge amount of this introduction and initial support in sport.

‘And a facility like this is a huge boost for the school and the community.

‘Some of us are lucky and have access to things like this.

‘A park, a back garden or a little bit of green space seems so much harder to come by these days.

‘So when you do have the luxury of an indoor sports hall like this it really helps.’

The new facilities will enable sport to take place all year round, as during exam times the old hall was often used for students to sit examinations.

Headteacher Simon Graham helped to chip in by donating a week’s wages to the fund.

He said: ‘I am incredibly excited for the students and the community.

‘It allows them to have access to facilities that are of club standard for a range of sports.

‘It’s a big step forward for us. At different times of the year the community will have access to it. It was built primarily for the students at the school but in the area there isn’t a lot of access to sports facilities, particularly if you haven’t got good transport.

‘It’s huge. It’s a facility that’s four times larger than what we had.’