£1.2 million Buntingford sports hall opened by long-standing teacher

Helen Loughran, Janette Wood and Freman College sports leaders Helen Loughran, Janette Wood and Freman College sports leaders

Friday, May 9, 2014
5:11 PM

A new £1.2 million sports hall, named after a long-standing teacher, opened in Crow country this week.

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Janette Wood cutting the ribonJanette Wood cutting the ribon

Janette Wood OBE officially opened Freman College’s new sports hall, which bears her name, on Wednesday.

Miss Wood has taught at the school in Buntingford for 38 years and recently received her award from The Queen at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her services to education.

For the last eight years she has also run the North East Herts School Sports Partnership supporting and promoting sport and physical education in schools in the Buntingford and Royston area.

The hall includes a four court hall which is equipped for use for a wide range of activities including basketball, cricket nets, five-a-side football, volleyball, badminton and futsal. The building also contains a fully equipped fitness suite, changing rooms and four classrooms including two ICT suites.

Janette Wood, Mark and Sharon Lewis and family, Helen LoughranJanette Wood, Mark and Sharon Lewis and family, Helen Loughran

Helen Loughran, headteacher of Freman College, said: “I have been delighted by the impact our new sports hall has had. The students and our outstanding PE department really deserve the top quality sports facilities they now have.

“It has been a pleasure to see the students’ appreciation of this superb new building. It has taken our already high levels of participation in extra-curricular sport to an even higher level.

“It is also great to be able to share such a fantastic resource with the local community. Buntingford has had to wait a long time for a facility of this standard.”

As well as the opening of the sports hall, the occasion was an opportunity to dedicate the outdoor play area adjacent to the sports hall to the memory of former Head of PE David Lewis, who sadly died in December.

Mr Lewis worked at the college from 1970 to 1997 and remained a familiar figure at the college, running a veteran keep fit session in the gym every week.

His family had donated the collection from his funeral to the college to support the sports hall development and as a result the college was able to purchase four outdoor table tennis tables.

Mr Lewis’ family attended the opening ceremony to see the area which has plaques on each of the tables and also next to the tree planted in his memory.

Ms Loughran added: “Mr Lewis was such an important figure in the life of so many Ward Freman School [as it was previously know] students for many years. He had an enormous impact on so many students’ lives.

“I was very touched by his family’s generosity in making this donation. It seems very appropriate that we should remember Mr Lewis in this way as this will ensure generations of students to come will stay fit and active, enjoying sport as I am sure he would have wished them to.”

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