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With Dean Kayne

Olympian Rebecca Adlington breaks ground on new Rainham leisure centre

Left to right: Cllr Viddy Persaud, Rebecca Adlington and ReCreation’s Adrian Turner (credit: Havering Council)

Former Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has broken ground on a new leisure centre in Rainham.

The four-time Olympic medalist helped mark the start of work to build the facility at an event hosted by Havering Council yesterday.

It is being developed on part of Rainham Recreation Ground and will include a six-lane swimming pool, a dance and spin studio as well as a 72-station fitness suite. 

Construction of the state of the art leisure centre is expected to be completed in May 2023. 

It will then be handed over to Everyone Active, the company who run leisure centres in the borough on behalf of the council, and will be open to the public shortly afterwards. 

Adlington, who won gold twice at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and two bronze medals at London 2012, said: “A centre like this is so important for the local community, not just as a way of staying healthy through exercise but also as a place for people of all ages to meet and socialise. 

“Thousands of children will also have the opportunity to learn to swim here for decades to come, which is a vital skill that could save their life.

“And, who knows, one day a future Olympian might be discovered here, too!”

After she broke ground, Adlington met with pupils from Rainham Village Primary School which is located next to where the centre is being constructed. 

She brought along her Olympic medals and had a question and answer session with the students. 

Havering Council previously agreed to build the new leisure centre to replace the dated Chafford Sports Complex. 

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Havering’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “We were delighted to welcome Rebecca to Rainham to join us and Everyone Active in marking this first big milestone.

“The building of what will be a fantastic new facility for not only the community in Rainham, but for the borough.

“We’re extremely proud that unlike many other councils, we’ve been able to invest in our leisure centres, which are very important to both our physical and mental health.” 

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