Award for Herne Hill Velodrome

By Jim Dunton - Mon 19 August 2013, 11:51 am

Historic Herne Hill Velodrome - the last remaining operational venue from London's 1948 Olympics - has been given a Big Society Award by prime minister David Cameron.

The move recognises the efforts of local residents and volunteers to fund vital repair work for the cycling centre to allow it to remain in use.

Although the venue is used by thousands of people each year, it faced closure in 2010 because of urgently-needed repair work.

Local resident Hillary Peachey and a group of friends launched a “Save the Velodrome” campaign, which attracted huge public interest and support from British Cycling, Southwark Council, and the Dulwich.

Resurfacing of the track was completed in 2011 and further improvements to facilities - including track lighting - have now been implemented.

Peachey, who is now chair of Herne Hill Velodrome Trust, said fundraising would begin next month for a third phase of improvements, which would see the development of a new pavilion.

“We desperately need new indoor facilities – space for specialised training sessions, for clubs and user groups, for showers and toilets, for changing rooms and for a café," she said.

Announcing the Big Society Award, Cameron said it was “great” that community spirit had ensured that a legacy of the 1948 games was preserved.

“Thanks to the hard work of local people and a bit of help from inspirational cycling heroes, cyclists of all ages and abilities can now enjoy using Herne Hill Velodrome and maybe one day follow in the footsteps of  Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Froome,” he said.