Opening of the new Europa Gym in Crayford, Bexley

12 March 2012

The official opening of the new Europa Gym in Bexleyheath took place on 6th March with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson cutting the ribbon.

The original club was formed in 1992 by Len and Yvonne Arnold in a semi derelict industrial building in Erith. Len and Yvonne are two of the most dedicated individuals one could come across. In 2000 they sold up their house to fund improvements to the gym and moved into the gym as their residence. The club grew to 1,400 members by 2007 and closure of the club beckoned in 2012 if funding wasn’t found for a new home.

Barratt Homes eventually came forward and provided a site and a substantial contribution (as a S106 payment) towards the funding, of which, a number of other funders (including Sport England) also contributed.

The gymnasium is primarily for gymnastics, martial arts and boxing but will be used as training  facilities for volleyball teams competing in the main Olympic Games and also the Paralympic Games.

Len Arnold has been selected by Lord Coe to carry the Olympic Torch on his stage  of the relay. I think this demonstrates Len’s standing amongst the Bexley community.

Speeches were delivered by Len Arnold, the Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Theresa O’Neill , the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson and Boris Johnson. A few people received special mention from the speakers, one of which was our own Lee O’Neill who project managed a very complex development where Barrett’s, Bexley Council, the funding organisations and Len all continuously called upon him to manage their individual expectations.