Olympic medallist triathlete Jonny Brownlee was at School on Friday November 16 to open our new state of the art fitness centre.
The fitness suite occupies a purpose-built, 120sq m extension to the school’s sports hall complex and features the latest in weights, strength and conditioning training equipment as well as top-end treadmills, cycle trainers, rowing machines and other cardio-vascular training aids.
Jonny Brownlee, the younger of the two Brownlee brothers, from Leeds, dropped in to Giggleswick to look round the new facility and officially declare it open.
The suite has been made possible thanks to a legacy from former pupil, Mike Hartley, whose sons, Gary and Steven, joined Jonny at the opening.
Jonny is no stranger to Giggleswick, having competed at cross country during his schooldays and even mentions it in his book, Swim Bike Run.
Jonny said “I won my first schools U9 cross country race here. I remember running up the field and thinking that it felt like Everest at the time! I am really impressed by these new facilities with equipment very similar to that which we use. Giggleswick has a wonderful location for triathlon training and I would really enjoy training here.”
Headmaster Mark Turnbull thanked Jonny, who chatted to pupils and staff during his visit.
“We were delighted to welcome Jonny to our school. Triathlon is a sport which we encourage at Giggleswick and Jonny’s visit was inspirational,” he said.
Jonny was taken on a tour of the school, had lunch with some of the elite sports programme pupils and took part in a Q and A session.
Director of sport, Dan Cook, said that the new gym would ensure all the school’s young athletes have access to the right equipment to help them train, whether it’s for a specific sport or for general fitness.
He said: “We are excited about the possibilities for sporting development which the new machines will bring. Together with the top-level coaching offered across a vast range of sports, the gym will enhance the opportunities for every young athlete to make the most of their active lives at Giggleswick.”
The gym development is just part of an ongoing multi-million pound investment in the school’s buildings and facilities. The project will see an overhaul of the boarding houses to create the latest in modern, architecturally designed, home from home accommodation for its pupils.
The first phase of the ambitious boarding accommodation upgrade was recently completed with subsequent refurbishment work scheduled over the next few years.
Also in the planning is a dedicated new upper sixth form house, designed to provide bespoke facilities for more independent living and working, preparing each student for life beyond Giggleswick.
Mr Turnbull said: “It is an exciting time for the school and as well as investing in our facilities we are committed to making Giggleswick accessible and affordable for as many young people as we can. Our broad, values-based education focused upon the needs of each individual is more important today than it has ever been. What these developments show is what sets Giggleswick apart: we endeavour to put the needs and happiness of each child at the heart of what we do, so that boarding, just like all learning, can be great fun.”