A new activities hub in Cobnor was officially opened last Friday in honour of a man who helped to spread the enthusiasm of sailing and other activities in the area.
The new state-of-the-art and eco-friendly building at the Cobnor Activities Centre was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper.
The building at Cobnor Point, Chidham, is named after the late Martin Beale, the founder of the activities centre. The new centre cost just under £1m to build.
Diana Beale, daughter of Martin, said she was ‘seriously chuffed and honoured’ to be at the event.
“It is a little bit overwhelming seeing so many lovely friends from the past and present,” she said.
“It does not seem possible it is 20 years since my dad died, but it is as if he lives on. His spirit is here in so many ways.”
Barry Colgate, chairman of the Cobnor Activities Centre Trust said: “If you are seeking his (Martin Beale) memorial, just look around you.”
A live band from Bourne Community College provided the entertainment for the opening ceremony, and pupils helped with refreshments.
Nutbourne Construction built the new centre, which has 56 beds, a classroom with laptops and wi-fi, an overhead projector, shower and toilet facilities.
Mr Colgate said the trust did its best to incorporate green energy to run the new building, including using heat obtained from the ground for water.
Mrs Pyper said: “Cobnor is one of the places I come to for walks with the family. I have been coming here often for the past 25 years.
“I always wondered what goes on at the Cobnor Activities Centre. Now I know. I have seen it develop over the years. It is a great time to be here.
“It enables youngsters and people of all ages to enjoy outdoor sports and activities. We live in very difficult times. For youngsters to be able to develop skills, self-confidence and learn about team work, is key to the future and their futures when they go to school and get jobs.
“The Cobnor Activities Centre is a rare species and it is really nice to know places like this exist.”
“Cobnor Activities Centre has a close relationship with the West Sussex County Council youth service and is also grant-aided by them.
“This, along with the charitable efforts of the Friends of Cobnor Activities Centre including the grand summer dance and the family fun day, means we are able to keep the centre running smoothly.”
There will be a family activity day at the centre on September 10.
For more information contact the centre on 01243 572791 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.