New Otley Scouts centre opened by hero Lizzie Armitstead

Ilkley Gazette: Lizzie Armitstead opens the building Buy this photo » Lizzie Armitstead opens the building

Olympian Lizzie Armitstead has declared a revamped Otley Scout group's headquarters officially open.

The local cycling star was cheered on by members of the 2nd Otley Scout Group and supporters at the new-look base on Craven Street on Saturday (pictured).

Now sporting the new name Chevin Community Centre, to reflect its wider role in also serving other organisations, the building has been fully modernised and had a large extension built. The property has been home for the 2nd Otley Scouts, who are celebrating their centenary year, since 1976. The revamp cost about £160,000, with much of the money raised through fundraising events, organised by the scouts and their supporters, and grants.

Lizzie, a former Otley Scout, said she was proud to open the new-look HQ and community centre.

She said: “I was a Chief Scout with Otley Bridge, and my brother was a Scout as well, so the scout movement means a lot to me.

“We used to have a summer camp every year and I loved that – we used to have so much fun and it was also about learning independence. It’s wonderful to be asked to open this community centre.

“It’s great to have a centre that is not just for Scouts but will involve the whole community, and I hope everyone in the town will be grateful and make use of it because it has taken a lot of work.”

Born in Otley, where she is still based when she is not away competing around the world, Lizzie won Team GB’s first medal in the London 2012 Olympics, taking a silver in the women’s road race. Looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, she added: “The plan is to go for Rio, and the plan is gold rather than silver this time!

“In London my first instinct was to be disppointed at not winning, and I had to remind myself about what I had achieved.

“It is an Olympic silver medal, and there had been all the pressure building up to the event and I had kept my nerve – but as a sportsman you are always looking to win. If I get gold in Rio maybe I will retire, and if I don’t maybe I will try again.”

The 2nd Otley Scouts have also been climbing England’s 100 highest hills this year, in their 100 Peak Challenge, to commemorate their 100th anniversary.

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