HRH The Princess Royal formally opens University of Birmingham's Sport & Fitness Club

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal yesterday visited the University of Birmingham’s new Sport & Fitness Club

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal yesterday visited the University of Birmingham’s new Sport & Fitness Club, unveiling a plaque and delivering a speech as part of a formal opening ceremony.

The University of Birmingham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood welcomed Her Royal Highness to the new facility before she was then introduced to Chancellor Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, Pro-Chancellor Ed Smith, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Myra Nimmo and Director of Sport Zena Wooldridge OBE.

The Princess Royal was given a tour of the facility, led by Zena Wooldridge, where she met a variety of students and athletes including para-swimmers, squash scholars and student sport teams. In addition, Her Royal Highness met a variety of staff who work with everyone from participation to elite athletes.

The tour included visits to the 50m swimming pool, fitness studios, squash courts, the indoor multi-purpose arena and sports hall, climbing wall and performance centre. Following the tour, The Princess Royal attended a reception, where she had a chance to meet with staff, students, alumni and national sporting leaders and dignitaries.

Following a few words from the Vice Chancellor, Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the Sport & Fitness Club, before delivering a speech in which she congratulated the University for its efforts in supporting Birmingham’s successful bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood said: “It was an honour and a privilege to welcome Her Royal Highness to our major new sports centre.

“This facility, together with our world-class team of trainers and sports experts, reflects Birmingham's status as one of the top universities for sport in the UK.”

Chancellor Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, who also said some closing words following Her Royal Highness’s speech, said: “We were delighted that The Princess Royal was able to join us and see first-hand this outstanding facility which will not only help to produce high performing athletes and the next generation of Olympic heroes, but is also benefitting the wider community as it takes advantage of having access to these state-of-the-art facilities.”

Director of Sport Zena Wooldridge said: “Having been Director of Sport at the University for 15 years, it has been so exciting to see this fantastic facility go from an idea, to plans, to construction and opening. Its first months since opening have been tremendously successful, with many hundreds of students, staff and community members using these unparalleled facilities.”

The Sport & Fitness Club opened its doors to students, staff and the community in May 2017, providing a new gateway to the University’s iconic Edgbaston campus. Already popular, the occasion provided an opportunity to celebrate Sport and Fitness’ success so far.

Ends

For further enquiries, please contact Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences) at the University of Birmingham’s Press Office on 0121 414 6681 or out of hours on 07789921165. 

Notes to Editors:

  • The University of Birmingham will host hockey and squash as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the city.
  • The University of Birmingham is currently ranked in the top ten universities for sport in the UK. International athletes such as Lily Owsley MBE, Olympic gold medallist in women’s hockey, studies Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and competes for the University in the Investec Women’s Hockey Premier League.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Located on the corner of the Edgbaston campus, at the junction of Edgbaston Park Road and Bristol Road, the University of Birmingham’s new Sport & Fitness Club forms a new gateway for the community. Designed to provide unrivalled opportunities for everyone from beginner to elite athletes and supported by a world-class team of trainers and sports experts, it is home for our 55 sports clubs. The University’s Performance Centre, which specialises in applied sports science from strength and conditioning, to psychology and physiology, is also located within the new facility.