Thousands turn up to see Sapphire Ice and Leisure sparkle at grand opening

Published: Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Over 8,000 people joined Olympic medalist, Colin Jackson, CBE and Dancing on Ice star, Ray Quinn, along with Council officials on Saturday 3 February, to celebrate the Sapphire Ice and Leisure opening

The Mayor of Havering, Councillor Linda Van den Hende, who cut the ribbon to welcome guests into the building, was joined by Duncan Jefford from Everyone Active and Willmott Dixon officials. Councillor Linda Van den Hende also handed out a hamper prize to Charlotte Webb from Hornchurch, before guests made their way into Sapphire Ice and Leisure.

Councillor Roger Ramsey, Leader of the Council said: “It was an honour to open this long-awaited facility, named after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

This project has been at the forefront of this administration’s ambition and I’m very happy that thousands of residents joined us to celebrate this and that they were all impressed by the facilities available at Sapphire Ice and Leisure.

I hope that all residents across the borough make good use of this complex to help maintain and improve their health and wellbeing.”

Throughout the day, guests were treated to a host of free activities, including public ice skating and swim sessions.

On the ice, the crowds were impressed by Ray Quinn’s award-winning skills before British figure skating champions, Graham Newberry and Kristen Spours, took to the rink to showcase their talents.

As soon as the public ice skating session began, hundreds of guests flocked to the ice and were joined by a variety of children’s characters. 

Both pools were also filled with visitors throughout the day and more than 100 children joined former Olympic athletes as part of an Oceans of Fun event.

Colin Jackson also proved why he is a former world number one when he took part in a range of fitness activities in the new 100-station fitness suite. Colin Jackson was amazed by Sapphire Ice and Leisure and described it as “a beautiful and world-class facility.”

The evening of the open day saw The Raiders being cheered on by around 1,000 fans as they smashed Cardiff Fire, 5 - 2.

Sapphire Ice and Leisure is one of Havering Council’s biggest investments to date, and forms a major part of its multi-million-pound investment to improve sports and fitness facilities in the borough.

Everyone Active manages Sapphire Ice and Leisure on behalf of Havering Council. Area contract manager, Steve Cox, said: “This has been a long-awaited facility for people in Romford, and I was delighted to see so many turn out to help us celebrate its opening.

“The centre is a really unique facility that offers a wealth of opportunities for people to find fun ways of keeping active. It was fantastic to have so many talented people with us to mark the opening. The athletes are proof of what can be achieved by taking part in the extensive range of activities that are offered by leisure providers, and I hope they have inspired more people to come and give different sports a try.”