New Harpenden leisure centre celebrations include picnic with Olympic hero Max Whitlock

Olympic gold medalist Max Whitlock MBE will open Harpenden’s new multi-million pound leisure centre

Olympic gold medalist Max Whitlock will open Harpenden’s new multi-million pound leisure centre. - Credit: Supplied

Olympic gold medalist Max Whitlock MBE will open Harpenden’s new multi-million pound leisure centre and residents are invited to join him and other athletes for a celebratory picnic. 

Max, who won his third Olympic gold at the pommel horse in Tokyo this summer, was born and brought up a few miles from the centre.

The event will take place Friday, September 24 from 4pm, and Max will be joined by badminton star Gail Emms MBE who won silver at the 2004 Olympic Games. 

Sports clubs, school and community groups will be present at the launch at the centre in Rothamsted Park, with residents urged to come along.

A number of family-friendly games and activities, including tennis sessions, are being arranged.

The centre was rebuilt by owners St Albans City and District Council as part of a £20 million project which includes the creation of a new culture centre named after comedy legend Eric Morecambe.

Managed by contractor 1Life, the leisure centre opened for business in April and has built up a growing membership of almost 4,000 and more than 1500 local children on the Swim School swimming lesson programme. 

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Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Council’s Public Realm Committee, said: “I am thrilled that Max has agreed to come along and open the new leisure centre that we are proud to have delivered.

“He is one of our greatest ever Olympians, with six medals to his name, and his presence at the opening will be inspirational to leisure centre users of all ages and abilities.

Max and Gail will assist Councillor Edgar Hill, Mayor of St Albans City and District, with the official ribbon-cutting.

A number of other civic figures including the Mayor of Harpenden, Councillor Paul Cousin, have been invited.

The new facility offers the local community 40 group exercise classes per week along with other activities. More details are available on the centre’s website.

The launch will take place Friday, September 24; from 4pm-6pm; at the centre in Rothamsted Park; 33 High St, Harpenden AL5 2DG;