Published October 6, 2016 at 15:28
Double Paralympic silver medallist Tom Hamer has officially opened a new £30,000 climbing area in Rossendale.
After cutting the ribbon, the 18 year-old, who took home silver medals in the S14 200m freestyle and SM14 200m individual medley in Swimming at Rio, was the first visitor to scale the wall at Grip & Go in Haslingden on Saturday.
Former Alder Grange School pupil Tom said it was ‘an honour’ to open the new 9m high by 6m wide wall, which is aimed at climbers looking to progress their skills.
The wall can hold four climbers on auto belay lines at the same time, each with three different routes to climb. This means that there is a total of 12 different routes up the wall that can be changed at any time.
It has been designed so climbers have the opportunity to gain a National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) qualification. And there is also a platform that can be used for visitors who want to gain abseiling qualifications.
The centre, which opened in June 2015, is also home to 18 different themed 7m climbing walls, a ‘Leap of Faith’ and aerial stepping stones.
“It was such an honour to be asked to to open the new climbing area at Grip & Go. I really enjoyed having the chance to try out the wall, it was a lot of fun. It’s a fantastic facility and hopefully the wall will inspire a new generation to take up climbing.”
Bosses at the climbing centre say they decided to expand the facilities on offer to provide an opportunity for visitors to the centre to try their hand at more advanced traditional climbing.
The holds are made from different types of resin which look and feel like real rock, the wall will be mainly used for belay climbing, but can also be used for top roping.
The wall has also been designed so that it can be extended in the future.
Rachael Kershaw Grip & Go marketing officer said:
“We were delighted to welcome Tom to Grip & Go to officially open our new climbing area. Tom is a real local sporting hero and we are pleased that he took the time out of his busy schedule to show his support for our new facility.
“This is the latest in a series of investments that we have made at Rossendale Leisure Trust, including a £2.5m investment at Marl Pits Leisure Centre to modernise the facility, as a part of a continued bid to improve the services we offer.