Arc is basking in an Olympic glow

Paul Blakemore, Arc Leisure Matlock, strikes a Usain Bolt pose by Sebastian Coe's signature.
Paul Blakemore, Arc Leisure Matlock, strikes a Usain Bolt pose by Sebastian Coe's signature.

Derbyshire Dales District Council is celebrating the gold medal decision to ask Olympics mastermind Sebastian Coe to officially open its Arc Leisure Matlock attraction last year.

As the curtain came down on Olympics that exceeded all expectations on Sunday and Lord Coe, the London 2012 organising committee chairman, accepted an offer from the Prime Minister to become a “legacy ambassador” for the Games, Arc staff were re-living a smaller-scale ceremony just ten months ago.

Back in October, Lord Coe outlined his hopes for the 2012 Olympics before officially opening the District Council’s £12-million leisure facility.

Since then he has gone on to head up the organisation of a London showpiece described as “absolutely fabulous” by the International Olympic Committee, while Arc, which first opened its doors to the public almost exactly a year ago, is on track to record half a million visits by the end of the year.

Chairman of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s communities committee, Cllr Carol Walker said: “We make no excuse for congratulating ourselves on the decision to ask Lord Coe to open Arc Leisure Matlock and we are delighted that both the Olympics and Arc have been touched by success.

“We know people will have been inspired by the Games. Some may aspire to be Olympians of the future and others will simply want to take part in more healthy activities. Whatever the target, it’s great to know we have the perfect facility here in the Derbyshire Dales.”

Arc Leisure Matlock manager Paul Blakemore added: “We knew it was a real coup to have someone of the pedigree of Lord Coe to officially open the centre, and of course he was already well known for his phenomenal exploits as a double Olympic gold medallist.

“However, in the past few weeks he has become even better known to a whole new generation as the main man behind the London Games and more and more people visiting us point to the Arc logo he signed and say ‘Wow - was he really here!’

“He must be one of the most famous people in the world right now.”

Eighteen local schools gathered at Arc on October 21 to hear Lord Coe say: “ I really would be hard pushed to tell you I have been to a leisure centre that has melded into a community and environment as well as this has.”