England legend Shilton bound for Suffolk

FOOTBALL legend Peter Shilton will this weekend be in Suffolk to open a leisure centre following a multimillion makeover.

Laurence Cawley

ENGLAND'S most capped footballer Peter Shilton will be taking on Suffolk school children in a penalty shootout this weekend as part of celebrations marking the reopening of a leisure centre.

Mr Shilton, who made 125 international appearances for England and was considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper of the 1980s, will be at Haverhill Leisure Centre on Saturday to re-open the centre following its multimillion pound refurbishment.

As part of his appearance, he will be in goal for a penalty shoot-out with children.

Mr Shilton will officially open the Haverhill Leisure Centre at 12.30pm.

The re-opening day in Haverhill begins at 10am with free taster sessions allowing people to try out the new facilities. Before the official opening at 12.30pm, Mr Shilton will take part in a penalty shoot-out with the winners of a children's competition.

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Football fans have also been invited to watch the ceremony and bring along their England shirts, balls and gloves to be signed during an autograph session with Mr Shilton from 3pm to 4pm.

Warren Smyth, chief executive of Abbeycroft Leisure, operators of the centre, said: “We have been overwhelmed at the response from Haverhill people to the new facilities. They have been delighted with their new leisure centre. It is a really impressive community asset.”

Lynsey Alexander, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for culture and sport, said: “The Haverhill master plan highlighted how important the leisure centre is to the life of the town. As well as being a great facility for residents, it is creating a buzz and attracting users from outlying areas who then see all the good reasons to make the town their local shopping and entertainment base.”

Taster sessions on the day include Thai fit; boxercise; legs bums and tums; body vibe; basketball; aqua aerobic; ultimate Frisbee and dodgeball. Kids City and Tots Town will be free until 1pm and there are free swimming activities throughout the day. England Squash and Raquetball will run a coaching clinic for all ages and abilities.

The borough council has invested �5.2m upgrading facilities and providing new activities and equipment.

The centre has fitness facilities, a swimming pool, a completely new Kids City children's play area, a new health suite and spinning studio, sports hall and studios, a dedicated combat and martial arts area, squash courts, a new multi-purpose room, a new cafeteria, party rooms and a cr�che.