Former Olympian and London Marathon co-founder opens new sports pitches

News release – 13 April 2012

Former Olympian and London Marathon co-founder helps launch new sports pitches on Lisson Green

More than 80 children joined London Marathon co-founder and former British Olympian John Disley to celebrate the official opening of the new community sports pitches at Lisson Green estate in Marylebone, Westminster.

Funded by CityWest Homes and London Marathon, who is one of the biggest sport funders in the world, Lisson Green’s well-used basketball and football pitches have been resurfaced and had new floodlights and fences installed. In addition, tennis facilities have been set up. BNP Paribas UK, whose London headquarters is down the road, also contributed money towards the work.

Local residents and councillors were heavily involved in the refurbishment of the pitches and wanted to create a quality community playing space. They also monitored the progress of the work to ensure it matched the needs of residents.

Achim von Malotki, Lisson Green residents’ association member, said: “I'm delighted to see the brand new sports pitches on Lisson Green. We’ve taken residents' interests on board to allow for maximum use of the pitches by local people. I'm confident the right balance has been struck between users and residents living nearby.”

Children from surrounding estates and the London Tigers football club celebrated the reopening of the pitches with a football tournament, games and giveaways. Charity Vital Regeneration also provided Easter activities including bonnet making and an Easter egg hunt.

John Disley CBE, the co-founder of London Marathon, who won a bronze medal in the steeplechase at the 1952 Olympics, said he was delighted to see the results of his organisation’s funding.

Before cutting the ribbon, Mr Disley commented: “When we did the first marathon, we didn’t have any money and I re-mortgaged the house without telling my wife. Luckily, it was a great success. Now we charge entry fees for the marathon and the money goes towards supporting local initiatives such as these pitches.”

The event ended with a five-a-side game between the coaches of London Tigers and staff from the CityWest Homes’ central area team. The CityWest team battled bravely but were overcome by the speed of the Tigers, going down 4-nil at full time.

Darren Levy, director of customer services for CityWest Homes, said: “I’m proud of our boys even though we were trounced in the end!

“It’s great to see the pitches completed because they took slightly longer than usual while we secured funding. However, we got there and that’s down to the tenacity and commitment of local groups and residents who were determined that the pitches should be improved for the local community.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Veronica Matheson, corporate communications adviser on 0207 245 2540 or vmatheson@cwh.org.uk.

Notes:
Refurbishment of the pitches cost £112,000 and took two and a half months to complete.
London Tigers will be coaching local young people on the football pitch every weekday evening. Local residents interested in booking the pitches should contact Mo Islam, housing manager, Lisson Green estate office on 020 7245 2807 or mislam@cwh.org.uk
The London Marathon takes place on 22 April 2012.


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