ONE of Britain’s greatest sporting stars, Sally Gunnel, officially unveiled the new sports centre at Malvern St James on Wednesday afternoon (October 1).

As the only woman to hold Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles concurrently, Sally was well placed to give her verdict on the state-of-the-art facility.

She said: “It’s great that it can be used by the local community as well as by schools.

“We live in a society these days where people realise they have to look after themselves and that goes hand-in-hand with health and fitness.”

The former 400m hurdler believes that young people will snap up the chance to strive for sporting success.

“It’s all about giving kids the opportunity,” she said, “and that ticks all the boxes for me.”

Sally gave an inspirational talk to the children and guests at the school and proved to be a real hit with the girls answering their questions before looking around the new facility.

During the morning, pupils from Malvern St James were joined by students from Dyson Perrins, Hanley Castle and the Chase to take part in a community sports morning.

Tom Wilkinson, aged 10, from St James’s Primary, West Malvern, said: “It was really good fun, we took part in activities including dance, basketball, climbing and pop lacrosse. We even did some training with the Worcester Warriors.”

The new eco friendly building is equipped and marked-out for a multitude of different sports including badminton, netball, volleyball, basketball, indoor hockey, five-a-side football, tennis and indoor lacrosse.

The indoor climbing wall is the first of its kind in Malvern with five ‘routes’ which offer varying degrees of difficulty to stretch even the most accomplished climber.

Headmistress Rosalind Hayes said: “The excellent facilities and the variety of sports on offer are very much for the benefit of both the girls at Malvern St James and also the community in which the school is based.”

The centre is open for commercial bookings as well as general public membership of the fitness suite.

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 18.