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Get Canvey track up and running again for our young people
8:00pm Friday 20th September 2013 in News
A FORMER athletics coach is backing a campaign to restore a Canvey running track, claiming island youngsters are being let down by it being out of action.
A campaign has been launched calling on Castle Point Council to revitalise the rundown track behind Waterside Farm Leisure Centre, in Somnes Avenue, which has been officially out of action for years due to its poor condition.
Now, former running coach and international athlete George Beecham, who served on the sports council that originally commissioned the track, has spoken out, claiming more should be done to boost athletics provision on the island.
Mr Beecham, 82, of Tewkes Road, Canvey, said: “I think it’s disgusting the track has been allowed to get in this state.
“It’s a shame for all the kids on the island who, if they want to train, have to go to Basildon and Chelmsford. Not only that, but to spend all that money and effort getting it installed and then to let it basically become derelict, is such a waste.’’ Mr Beecham added: “It was such an asset to the community.
There used to be facilities for high jump, long jump and pole vault and it was so well used by local schools. It could be again, if they spent the money to do it up.”
Mr Beecham also founded the Canvey Athletics Club around 30 years ago, who used to train on the track and at its peak had about 200 members.
He said: “Hundreds used the track. But as it deteriorated, people went to other clubs with better facilities and eventually it disbanded.
It’s putting money in other councils’ pockets.
“It annoys me to think we have had great athletes, like Dean Macey and Jessica Judd from Canvey, and yet our kids cannot have their district sports here.”
More than 100 people have already signed a petition, including middle distance runner Jessica Judd.
Castle Point Council said the running track could not be included in the £5.4million revamp of Waterside Farm because of limited funding.
However, now the refurbishment is complete, the authority intends to developamanagement plan for outside recreational areas, including the running track.
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