Sunderland celebrates summer of sport

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OLYMPIAN Jill Scott and Paralympic legend Hazel Robson helped celebrate the success of a sporting programme.

The pair took part in a glittering event to mark the achievements of Sunderland 2012 – which aims to leave a lasting legacy of sporting and cultural opportunities.

They joined 250 guests at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre at an Olympic-style closing event, which included displays from top sports clubs and representatives from community groups involved in the nine-month programme.

Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, said: “Sunderland in 2012 was a tremendous success thanks to our partnership with volunteers, community groups and sports clubs and the fantastic support of the people of Sunderland.

“More than 140,000 people took part in events and activities held across the city, and this summer of sport has given everyone the chance to get involved.

“We’re thrilled at the numbers, they are even better than we hoped and planned for.

“But we don’t want it to end here. Sunderland City Council wants the positive legacy of the programme to be even more people enjoying sport and physical activity, more regularly.

“We have seen this year the unique role sport plays in bringing people together and making them feel good about themselves and the city, and it’s that effect we want to take forward.”

The evening also saw the launch of the Sunderland Sports Personality Hall of Fame, to celebrate the achievements of Wearside athletes, who wowed viewers across the world during the summer’s Olympics and Paralympics.

First up are Olympian and footballer Jill Scott, from Fulwell; fellow footballer Steph Houghton, from South Hetton; West Rainton trampoliner Kat Driscoll; and Paralympians, runner Hazel Robson, from Houghton; footballer Dan English, from Washington; and sailor John Robertson, from Sunderland.

Launching the Sporting Hall of Fame, cabinet secretary Councillor Mel Speding said: “Sunderland is committed to enabling residents of all abilities to take part in sport and physical activity.

“In recent times our city has developed and transformed its sporting and leisure amenities.

“Sunderland provides people with a number of top-class, accessible facilities including the region’s only 50m pool, two 25m community pools along with Wellness Centres across the city, which provide excellent equipment and advice.

“Now is the time to celebrate the people who are putting Sunderland on the sporting map and it gives me great pleasure to stand here this evening with two of the first to be inducted into this city’s Hall of Fame.”

More additions to the Sunderland Hall of Fame are expected over the next few months.

Twitter: @janethejourno