International netball player Poppy Baker opens new community courts at Skegness Grammar School

A disused area of Skegness Grammar School has been transformed into two new netball courts which are to be available to the wider community as well as students.

The courts were officially opened by England Under-21 and Wasps netball player Poppy Baker, who took a break from physiotherapy studies at Nottingham University for the occasion.

Poppy, who also coached a Year 7 Netball Talent Day at the facility, said: "It's so nice to see new facilities for school age children and the wider community.

"After the last 18 months being locked up getting out and socialising with sport is so important."

England Under-21 and Wasps netball player Poppy Baker opening the new netball courts at Skegness Grammar School.

The courts were the dream of the DRET school games organiser for the coastal area based at Skegness Grammar School, Sarah-Jayne Smith, who was able to secure funding through the Active Lincolnshire Opening Facilities Fund.

Sarah, who attended Skegness Grammar School as a student, said: "I'm super excited about the netball courts and massive thanks to Active Lincolnshire for helping us put a bid in.

"It is not just for our students. Our ladies league netball are back playing every Wednesday evening and this gives far more opportunity for the people of Skegness.

"We are always looking to improve our facilities and our next project is to install floodlights so we can use the courts all-year round - and so we would love to hear from any businesses who would like to sponsor us to achieve this.

"It's just amazing to see how far we have come so far."

Headteacher Jude Hunton said "When I first came here this are was an eyesore and a waste of space and I am grateful to Sarah Jane for her incredible tenacity and vision to put this together with Active Lincolnshire.

"The last 18months have taught us a few things, one is the importance of community and the importance of sport.

"For Sarah Jane and Active Lincolnshire to have put this together for the wider community means we can see the enhanced value after the pandemic, bringing people together and be healthy out in the fresh air.

"We are thrilled as a school to welcome the community and grateful to Active Lincolnshire for supporting this."

Other guests at the opening included Shane Ward, head of sports for DRET, and Carolyn Blackburn, Lincolnshire county coach and head coach at Louth Netball Club.

Carolyn said: "This is excellent - this area was crying out for a facility like this not just for students but for the wider community.

"They run a netball league here and teams come from Louth, Alford and Boston so this is absolutely brilliant."