FORMER Pompey and England footballer Darren Anderton proudly unveiled a school’s new multi-million pound sports hall.
VIPs from across Gosport were there to see Bay House School’s sports complex – which is open to the whole community.
Headteacher Ian Potter put the wheels in motion for a state-of-the-art sports hall to replace the old dilapidated building when he arrived at the Gomer Lane school in 2002.
He said: ‘I’ve been working on this for nearly 15 years.
‘Unfortunately the recession of 2008 scuppered our plans and we lost our developers.
‘But when we became an academy we made a bid for funding and were eventually given £2.8m by the government.
I think it’s amazingDarren Anderton
‘And through donations, fundraising and being entrepreneurial we made it up to the £3.5m it cost to build.’
The new sports hall, which is opposite the school, has six courts and a flood-lit astro turf pitch.
Mr Potter added: ‘In education there is almost too much emphasis placed on academic outcomes.
‘But we know if we’re going to prepare pupils for a healthy adulthood we need to develop their interest in lifelong sport and exercise.
‘It’s very important in terms of their mental and physical wellbeing.
‘As a headteacher I want to educate the whole person.
‘This is marvellous for the whole community.’
The opening of the sports hall was marked by a football tournament which Bay House only narrowly lost to the Gosport veterans’ team.
Former Pompey and England star Darren watched with excitement and said he was proud to have been asked to celebrate the opening of the sports hall.
‘I think it’s amazing – it’s a great concept for the kids and for the area as well’, he said.
‘It’s a wonderful thing to get kids in here playing sport, getting them off the streets.
‘It hasn’t been easy for the school to get this far. There have been a few bumps on the way for them.
‘Fair play to them for keeping going and making it.’
As well as the tournament there was musical entertainment from pupils.
The two companies behind the build, Rund Partnership and The Construction Partnership, each gave the school £5,000 towards new equipment.
Sixth-former Sarah Rynn said: ‘I’ve waited seven years for this.
‘It’s finally arrived and it’s amazing.’