A FOUR-year battle and mammoth fundraising effort to secure a boathouse on a South Yorkshire lake has finally paid off – with the official opening of a £900,000 building.
Wentworth and Dearne Labour MP John Healey was invited to perform the honours at Manvers Lake, by members of Manvers Waterfront Boating Club, which has been set up to run activities on the water.
The lake was excavated 10 years ago at a site which was formerly railway sidings and a coke works and, for the last four years, enthusiasts have been fundraising to make the boathouse and watersports a reality.
Mr Healey said: “Manvers Lake is fast becoming a hub of sporting activity in the area. There’s so much going on there – running, swimming, canoeing, windsurfing, cycling.
“The events that have been held there so far, like the Dearne Valley Triathlon, have broken new ground and been a real success and I am sure Manvers Boat Club is going to go from strength to strength.
“I’ve been closely involved since the beginning and am proud to be officially opening the boathouse.
“I hope local families will be encouraged to get outdoors this summer and enjoy this great facility on their doorstep.”
Chris Hawkesworth, chairman of Manvers Waterfront Boat Club and The Manvers Lake and Dearne Valley Trust, said: “There were lots of trials and tribulations to get this far but we got there.
“We now have over 800 members.”
The club was helped by Canoe England and various other organisations to pay for the building.