Children have a ball as crowds flock to ‘one year to go’ event

Long Leap: A young competitor takes to the air in the long jump event at the Year To Go Village Games event at Carsington Water.

Long Leap: A young competitor takes to the air in the long jump event at the Year To Go Village Games event at Carsington Water.

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THE countdown is officially under way as scores of youngsters from across the area flocked to Carsington Water last week for a family fun day marking one year until the London 2012 Olympics.

Each district of Derbyshire has its own Village Games Officer to help local people set up sporting activities on their doorstep in the run-up to the London 2012 games and beyond.

In the hotseat for Derbyshire Dales is Katy Stubbs, whose role involves helping local people set up clubs, training sessions and activities.

To mark the ‘year to go’ landmark, Community Sports Trust, in association with Derbyshire Dales District Council, organised a day of taster sessions and demonstrations where people of all ages could have a go at everything from football to archery, parachute games to sumo suits and Ju-Jitsu.

There was also an inflatable football table, crafts, face painting and dance sessions, sit-on-top and double-seated kayaks, plus a climbing wall next to the water sports centre.

Katy Stubbs explained: “It was a brilliant day and was everything we could have hoped for – and more.

“There were in excess of 400 people there, mainly children but also quite a few adults too. We were very happy with the way things went on the day.”

She went on: “This was a huge milestone in the countdown to the Games. The last time the Olympics came to the UK was in 1948 and I doubt I’ll get to see another British games in my lifetime. So this is a big opportunity for people of all ages and abilities across the Derbyshire Dales to come together and celebrate.

“It’s a chance for people to be part of the Olympic legacy. In 2012, the world will come to compete in London. Over the next year, we can hold our own sporting mini-Olympics across the whole of the Derbyshire Dales. ”

Rob Wilks from Derbyshire Dales District Council echoed these comments and said: “Over the past year, the Village Games project in Derbyshire Dales has begun to have a really positive impact on our rural communities and in particular the support they receive to develop activities and clubs in their area.”

In its first year alone, the Village Games’ team has developed clubs, activities, events and festivals in 50 communities across Derbyshire with 36,000 attendances. 175 coaches and nearly 200 volunteers have supported the activities.

In the Dales, these include archery in Hartington, chair-based exercises in Monyash and Litton, circuit training in Parwich, and cricket in Stanton.

Katy Stubbs concluded: “I can really start to see Olympic fever taking hold locally. Now that there’s less than a year to go, the realisation is hitting people that it’s not that far off and so although there probably won’t be a major event locally from us until maybe a month or a week to go, we have lots of smaller events planned.”

If you would like to make a difference and get involved, Katy is here to help, whether through event planning, promotion or publicity.

Get in touch by emailing her on katy@villagegames.org.uk