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09 Feb 2018

Floating ice rink brings Raiders back to Romford at new £28m leisure centre
BY Rob Gibson

Crowds flocked to the new ice rink to enjoy ice skating in the town for the first time in five years

Crowds flocked to the new ice rink to enjoy ice skating in the town for the first time in five years
photo: Everyone Active

A ‘floating’ ice rink has opened in Romford as part of a new £28m leisure centre built to improve sports and fitness facilities in the area.

Sapphire Ice & Leisure, operated by Everyone Active, marks Havering Council’s largest single investment in a borough-wide improvement programme and will become the new home of the London Raiders ice hockey team.

The floating rink – meaning one built above the ground floor – can be found on the first floor, above an eight-lane, 25-metre swimming pool. It has the capacity for 1,200 skaters and rink-side seating for up to 1,000 spectators.

The centre, constructed by Willmott Dixon and named after the sapphire reign of Queen Elizabeth II, also features a learner pool with an adjustable floor and a 100-station fitness suite.

“This is a really exciting development for the area of Havering and we're proud to bring such top-class facilities to the community,” said Duncan Jefford, regional director of Everyone Active.

Council leader Roger Ramsey added: “It’s an honour to open this long-awaited facility.

“I hope all residents across the borough make good use of this complex to help maintain and improve the health and wellbeing.”

Other facilities include a sauna and steam room, dedicated group cycling studio, group exercise studio and two cafes.

The centre was opened by Everyone Active Sporting Champions Ambassadors Colin Jackson, five-time British Skating champion Graham Newberry and two-time British junior champion Kristen Spours.

Former X-factor winner and Dancing on Ice Star Ray Quinn also joined the action as part of a day of free activity for the public.

Romford’s last permanent ice rink opened in 1987 but closed in April 2013. The then-named Romford Raiders ice hockey team moved to Lee Valley Ice Centre but returned to the town on Saturday as the London Raiders.

The opening game took the total number of centre visitors to 8,000 on Saturday, with another 2,000 using the new facilities on Sunday.



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