Posted: 04.07.21 at 23:11 by By Graham Hill
MP Andrew Bridgen has given his support to Ashby Sport Fun Day and says it should become an annual event.
Our video above shows Ashby Hockey Club's stand which allowed people to tackle and obstacle course designed to improve their skills.
A large turnout of clubs and the general public, despite some morning rainstorms, impressed Mr Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire.
He said the event not only promoted health and fitness in the town, but it was also marked a return to something close to normality after lockdown.
Mr Bridgen told Ashby Nub News: "It's very timely that we're coming out of lockdown and many of us have put a few pounds on during that time.
"And we've missed out on social interaction, so to see everyone out here is encouraging.
"But I'm hoping that we can make this an annual event and get all the activities you can do in Ashby and surrounding area, all in one place and try to get more public participation, it's good for people, it's good for their mental wellbeing and the community.
"There's no better way to do it than with events like this, you've got everything from pigeon racing to boxing and everything in between.
"There was something for everyone and it was an initiative that was created by people in the town.
"They've had the full support of the health and wellbeing board of North West Leicestershire District Council and I hope the district council will promote it in future as I think it needs to be an annual event so that even more clubs and activities can join in."
Chairman of Leicestershire County Council - and Ashby Town Councillor - Dan Harrison opened the event and leant his support to the day.
Cllr Harrison said: "I feel very much part of this as a local, but I also think it's critical that we get young people into sport.
"I started at 14 at judo, and went on to be the British Champion - which means that anybody can do this.
"I want to impress on people that they can come and have a go - there are lot of activities in Ashby that people may not be aware of.
"But, also, if there are people there who can encourage, that's really important."
Cllr Harrison says it is important to provide outlets for its residents as well as encouraging people to visit the town.
He added: "We're a market town and we want to build on that, but it's also about the people who live here as well.
"We are also refurbishing the Leisure Centre so that's going to help as well.
"There's a lot of potential that can fit everyone's pocket as well.
"I congratulated all the team who've set this up because I could see this was a fantastic thing, brining all the clubs under one umbrella.
"The next big challenge is the smaller sports clubs in the town who don't have a home.
"If we could find an area which they could say is their own and they have a key to the door.
"We should be saying 'What can we do to help?'. I applaud Kenny Horn and his team for doing this. We want to see this do well."
Ashby de la Zouch Town Council has also played a major part in helping the new set-up and the town's Mayoress Rita Manning also attended the Fun Day.
She said: "It was amazing turnout, there were so many sports clubs who came to the Bath Grounds.
"The Town Council has backed Ashby Sport from the start, from the word go we've supported it.
"We need more people taking part in sport and, as we come out of lockdown, people will still want to keep fit.
"This showcased what is available in the area. Half of the sports clubs, you don't even realise are here, I didn't know there was a croquet club or pigeon fanciers.
"They're all out there, and Saturday they were all in one place."
Cllr Manning also knows that Ashby's growing population needs to be catered for in terms of sport and recreation.
She added: "New people need to know what's available and there's an Ashby Sport website now with all the information on there. That didn't exist before unless it was from someone you knew was already involved."
Ashby Sport’s Murrae Blair-Park helped to organise the day.
He says the team behind the event put on a great show despite it being rain-hit early on.
Murrae said: "It's been absolutely brilliant.
"You look at the number of clubs and the diversity of that, people are discovering things they didn't know existed.
"Now we have to support them collectively and improve the quality of that support and facilities.
"One of the things that would work well for rugby and football would be a 4 or 5G pitch, there's talk of investment in Ashby, but we need to improve that and the population of the town is growing significantly, think of the development that will be built at Money Hill.
"The critical thing is getting people to participate in sport, in terms of the day it's been a success in terms of the people who've turned out to support their clubs.
"Come again next year, because we'll be here again. I think there'll be more and more people participating, and more clubs could have formed by then.
"We're also considering an older population with walking football an example.
"The Ashby Sport collective is a great one-stop shop to find out what's going on. There are people who've lived here for 40 years and didn't know there was a croquet club in Ashby."
The event was sponsored by The Monkey Tree Restaurant in Ashby.
Among the clubs taking part in the Ashby Sport Fun Day were: Ashby United FC, Ashby Ivanhoe FC, Marlborough Rovers FC, Ethan United FC, Ashby Rugby Club, Ashby Tennis Club, Ashby Netball Club, Ashby Croquet Club, Ashby Bowls Club, Ashby Flying Club, Ashby Hastings Cricket Club, Willesley Golf Club, Ashby Hockey Club, Fitness Republic, Storme Hub, Ivanhoe Runners, Ashby Squash Club and Everyone Active.
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