THE crème de la crème of the table tennis world will be flocking to St Neots at the end of June when the town s new £400,000 sports facility opens. Building work is almost finished on the redevelopment of the St Neots Table Tennis Club and the facilities

St Neots Table Tennis Club

THE crème de la crème of the table tennis world will be flocking to St Neots at the end of June when the town's new £400,000 sports facility opens.

Building work is almost finished on the redevelopment of the St Neots Table Tennis Club and the facilities are going to be world class.

The club, which is located on the Common, next to the town's rugby club, says it could be used as a training ground for table tennis players in the lead-up to the Olympics and by the English Table Tennis Association at weekends.

Roger Howard, chairman of St Neots Table Tennis Club, told The Hunts Post: "When finished on June 26 this site will be one of the top table tennis clubs in the country.

"There is a huge buzz around the club's redevelopment, it is the talk of the table tennis world and everyone is really excited about it."

The club's facelift has been paid for by Sport England and the English Table Tennis Association. Funding has also come from Huntingdonshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and local businesses, including Waitrose.

Work has included the insulating of the roof and walls, a new entrance, kitchen, heating, lighting, changing rooms, lockers and a rest area with viewing gallery. In the main hall there will be room for five table tennis tables for top-class play or 15 tables for coaching.

Disabled access, parking and toilets will also be provided in the hope of attracting London 2012 Paralympic players to the club.

Mr Howard, who has been playing table tennis for more than 40 years, said: "This has been a long time in the making. Work started in January and it is great that it is now almost finished. The club was built in 1975 so its facilities desperately needed updating. We have never had an area where people can sit and relax and watch the players in action so it's pretty exciting."

The development has the backing of Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly who is expected to officially open the club later in the summer.

Mr Howard said: "Mr Djanogly has been fantastic in supporting this project because like me he realises that St Neots is growing and it needs facilities like this."

The club has 100 members ranging in age from seven to 80, but the committee hopes the redevelopment will attract new players - and other sports men and women.

"Because of the lack of sports facilities in St Neots we would like to let other sporting or leisure groups, such as fitness or martial arts classes, use the club as well," said Mr Howard. "We want this to be a facility for the community and used by the community. This will be an incredibly valuable sporting asset to the town."

INFORMATION: The club will be open for table tennis in the first week of July. Junior coaching will take place on Monday evenings, league matches on Tuesday evenings, club nights on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and coaching on Friday nights. To find out more about the club call Roger Howard on 01480 380003 or e-mail r.howard2@ntlworld.com