Greatest British Olympian of all visits Barnsley

Opening of the new Penistone Grammar School ALC'Sir Steve Redgrave CBE with Principal Jo Higgins and pupil  Sophie Daniels
Opening of the new Penistone Grammar School ALC'Sir Steve Redgrave CBE with Principal Jo Higgins and pupil Sophie Daniels
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OLYMPIC legend Sir Steve Redgrave sought to inspire the sporting stars of tomorrow during a day visiting two newly improved Barnsley schools.

The day was part of celebrations designed to mark the concluding stages of the town’s £1 billion Building Schools for the Future programme, which has seen the rebuilding or refurbishment of every secondary in the borough.

The five times gold medal-winning rower, recognised as Britain’s greatest Olympian, began his day at the new Darton College, where he officially launched its inaugural year.

Sir Steve, who is now 49, was the main speaker at the event which also featured song and dance performances by pupils.

Later he opened a ‘mini Olympics’ sports event, organised and led by Year 10 students.

The afternoon’s action also saw 700 pupils from the college and local primary schools competing in track, field and game events that will all form part of the Olympic programme next summer.

At the end of the event he presented medals to the winning teams, and said he hoped the day might be the start of something big.

Sir Steve’s second port of call was in Penistone, where he again spoke to youngsters at an event to mark the official opening of Penistone Grammar School Advanced Learning Centre.

Students at both schools heard how Sir Steve won gold at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000 - and how he also won 12 golds at the Commonwealth Games and World Rowing Championships. He is one of only four Olympians to have won gold at five consecutive Olympics.

He was in the town as a global ambassador for consultancy Gleeds, which worked as an advisor on the Barnsley BSF programme.