On Saturday 17 September, the School community gathered to celebrate the formal opening of the Oundle School Sports Centre.

An assembly with all 1140 pupils, staff and guests was held in the Sports Hall. A welcome address and thanks were given by the Head, followed by remarks by Governor Ian Hodgson (Sc 78), the Director of Sport Nick Beasant and Heads of School Hannah (L) and Theo (Sc). Representing one of the many community clubs who use the Sports Centre, Ben Negus, Head Coach at City of Peterborough Swim Club, spoke about the impact that the facilities have had on the wider community.

The Sports Centre is the physical centrepiece of Oundle’s vision for sport and offers enhanced sporting provision for both School and community use, including a 50m swimming pool, an eight-court sports hall and a 70-station fitness suite.

The Sports Centre opened to pupils in September 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic restricting a wider opening to the public until 2021. Two years on, we are proud to have honoured its conception, design, construction and implementation. The event provided a valuable opportunity to invite those who supported the project in numerous ways, including the many generous donors.

Following the assembly, guests gathered in the central foyer for the official opening by Chairman Robert Ringrose (StA 71), who handed a specially crafted baton to Sports Scholar Nwando (W), symbolising the passing of the sporting torch from one generation of Oundelians to the next. The baton, formed from the brass of two bells cast in the workshops by former pupils, was made by Jon Baker, Director of the Patrick Engineering Centre.

After lunch, guests toured the Sports Centre and had the opportunity to watch sports activities, including badminton in the Sports Hall (transformed back to court use following the assembly), swim training, dance lessons in the studios, fitness conditioning in the gym, as well as rugby and hockey fixtures on the surrounding pitches.

Sarah Kerr-Dineen, Head of Oundle School said: “It is a matter of great pride to all who have been involved with the project that the vision has been realised. The Sports Centre symbolises both the pursuit of sporting excellence and the central importance we place on educating all pupils for a life beyond school.”