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Join our seafront celebration of Great Yarmouth's new £26m sports centre

You're invited to try out a new sport, see one of the UK's top drag acts, or just soak up the sun and party atmosphere on the beach at a free celebration to mark the first month of Great Yarmouth's new £26m sports centre next month.

Aqua play at the Marina Centre

The new Marina Centre on Great Yarmouth's seafront Golden Mile threw open its doors at the start of August and is now inviting the public to join in a celebratory weekend on 3 and 4 September.

The event coincides with Great Yarmouth and Waveney Pride weekend, and Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Marina Centre operator Freedom Leisure have teamed up with organisers to throw a party to remember.

Events will kick off with the start of the Pride procession on Marine Parade at 11am, with Great Yarmouth-born international drag act Bimini Bon-Boulash and Pride's Kyle Hussey carrying a specially-commissioned Marina Centre torch to the centre.

They will hand it over to torch designer East Norfolk Sixth Form student Ednilson Dos Reis, whose artwork won a competition for local young people.

Marina Torch Winner Ednilson Dos Reis

The relay will complete with the presentation of the torch to gold-winning Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson, who will officially open the new sports centre.

Baroness Grey-Thompson's first Paralympics was Seoul in 1988, where she won a bronze medal in the 400m wheelchair racing, going on to win gold and silver medals across multiple classes at Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens.

Her total Paralympic Medal tally is 11 gold, four silvers and one bronze alongside 12 World Championship medals. Over her career she broke 30 world records, and is a six-time winner of the London Wheelchair Marathon.

During the visit Baroness Grey-Thompson will also meet community sports groups and local sporting heroes including Great Yarmouth Paralympian swimmer Jessica Jane Applegate MBE, who will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her gold medal win at London 2012.

Across both Saturday and Sunday, the public will be able to try out a selection of different sports within the new facility, and explore what the centre has to offer.

There will also be free live music and entertainment on both days on the beachfront performance area, to help keep everyone entertained.

Council leader Carl Smith said: "We want the Marina Centre to be a place for everyone, whatever their level of sporting experience and confidence, and so it is fitting that our big celebration of its opening coincides with Pride, which is all about being yourself.

"It looks set to be a great weekend so I would encourage everyone to come and enjoy the spectacle of the parade and the celebration of sport on the seafront."

The new Marina offers a six-lane swimming pool, learner pool and leisure water with flumes; along with a 120-station gym, four court sports hall, 10m indoor climbing zone, three studios, and community spaces.

Many of the facilities feature stunning panoramic views of Great Yarmouth beach, with a central atrium and café linking the promenade to the beach.

The centre has been funded by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, plus £2.5m secured from the Government's Getting Building Fund via New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, £1.6m from Sport England, and £500,000 from the Norfolk business rates pool.

Last modified on 06 September 2023

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