England cricket stars support centre of excellence

Cricketers Mark Wood, Steve Harmison, Ben Harmison with their Active Northumberland membership cards.
Cricketers Mark Wood, Steve Harmison, Ben Harmison with their Active Northumberland membership cards.

England test match cricketers Mark Wood and Steve Harmison have shown their support for a Northumberland centre of sporting excellence.

The pair, joined by Steve’s brother, county cricketer Ben Harmison, have joined Active Northumberland and become the first official members of the new Ashington Leisure Centre.

The centre, which opens this autumn, will be a regional centre of excellence for sport with facilities including indoor cricket nets; a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, and a six-court sports hall with extensive floor space and equipment for gymnasts.

Northumberland County Council is investing £20m in the first phase of sports improvements in the county and the centre will be managed by Active Northumberland.

Coun Susan Dungworth, cabinet member for adult care and public health at Northumberland County Council, said: “Mark Wood and Steve Harmison are two of the country’s greatest cricket stars and it is wonderful to have their support for what is a very exciting development for Ashington and Northumberland.

“The county will soon have a leisure centre providing world-class facilities and coaching to help train the next generation of sports stars. It is going to be a place where anyone who wants to get active can come along and train, keep fit and play sport.”

The building’s iconic design includes designer windows inspired by the Pitmen Painters featuring an inspirational collection of handwritten quotes from local residents.

The centre will also be the new home for Ashington library which will be situated on two floors in the building. The library will have an extensive range of books and digital resources, a dedicated IT hub with free wi-fi, and a bespoke children’s library.

England cricketer Mark Wood said: “It is very exciting to see the leisure centre nearing completion and I am delighted to be one of the first members.

“Having world-class facilities here in my hometown is great news for local and regional sport and it will be a fabulous facility for cricketers, gymnasts, footballers and anyone who wants to get involved in sport at any level from grassroots upwards.”

Sport England selected Ashington as a regional centre of sporting excellence and has invested in the town’s new leisure centre project through a £1m investment.

Bruce Ledger, chief executive of Active Northumberland, who will manage the new facility, said: “When the leisure centre opens this autumn, it will offer excellent opportunities for people of all ages to learn and participate in sport.

“It will also have a luxurious spa and treatment room, an amazing fitness studio with a state-of-the-art gym and the very latest equipment provided by our supplier Technogym, and two fully air-conditioned dance studios with sprung floors.”

For full information, visit www.activenorthumberland.org.uk