Hastings Athletic Club and Ark William Parker Academy celebrate reopening of William Parker athletics arena

Charlotte Purdue and Adam Clarke (centre), alongside Ark students from Ark William Parker, Ark Helenswood, Ark Little Ridge, Ark Castledown and Ark Blacklands.
Charlotte Purdue and Adam Clarke (centre), alongside Ark students from Ark William Parker, Ark Helenswood, Ark Little Ridge, Ark Castledown and Ark Blacklands.

Ark William Parker Academy and Hastings Athletic Club came together to celebrate the reopening of the high spec William Parker athletics arena this month.

Team GB elite athletes Adam Clarke and Charlotte Purdue officially declared the track open with a ribbon cutting ceremony and were joined by an enthusiastic gathering of local dignitaries, the William Parker Foundation, students and club members.

L-R: Eric Hardwick MBE, Hastings Half Marathon Race Director; Nigel Sinden, Mayor Of Hastings; Ross Skelton; Yvonne Powell, Executive Principal of Helenswood and William Parker Academy and Roland Garrad, President of Hastings Athletic Club.

L-R: Eric Hardwick MBE, Hastings Half Marathon Race Director; Nigel Sinden, Mayor Of Hastings; Ross Skelton; Yvonne Powell, Executive Principal of Helenswood and William Parker Academy and Roland Garrad, President of Hastings Athletic Club.

The rain held off and the sun finally shone for Ark students and club runners to run alongside the GB elite athletes in testing out the newly laid surface with a lap of the track.

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Clarke, an ex-William Parker student and now training partner of the legendary Sir Mo Farah was accompanied by Charlotte Purdue, international marathon runner – both are rising stars in the British athletics scene and proved an inspiration to the youngsters present.

The arena, which is home to Hastings Athletic club has a freshly re-laid Olympic sized track, new and refurbished athletics equipment and now also has the ability to officially confirm records with an on-track timer.

Yvonne Powell, Executive Principal of Ark William Parker said; ‘It’s our ambition to provide excellent facilities for all our students and our community so that we can promote sport and sporting excellence. We’re proud to be the home of Hastings Athletic club and look forward to welcoming more of our community to come and enjoy our high standard facilities.’

Terry Skelton, Chairman of Hastings Athletics Club said; ‘This is such great news for Hastings Athletic Club and the town to have the use of this fantastic arena. With so many great athletes coming from the local area over the years, and with so many up and coming ones as well, I can't thank ARK Academy enough. We have a great relationship with the school and may it continue for many years to come.’

The reopening of the new track comes at the same time as Ark are offering Sports and Arts scholarships to students who can demonstrate commitment to their specialism.

Ark William Parker Academy is a member of Ark, one of the country’s top-performing academy networks. They run 35 schools in London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Hastings, educating around 20,200 pupils and their aim is to create outstanding schools that give every pupil, regardless of their background, the opportunity to go to university or pursue the career of their choice.

To find out more about Hastings Athletic Club, please contact Katie Arnold, Club Secretary at secretary-hastingsathleticclub@live.co.uk or www.hastingsathleticclub.co.uk

Or to book the athletics track, please contact SLS at Ark William Parker on 01424 554 244 or email: arkwilliamparker@schoollettings.org