Plas Menai in North Wales will be
renamed The Ken Newing National Outdoor Centre for 24 hours, with further
venues at Twickenham, The Kia
Oval, Paula Radcliffe Athletics Track, Pinsent Redgrave Rowing Lake and The
Geraint Thomas Velodrome in England and Wales changing their names to honour
Ken Newing, 70, is the Rear
Commodore Training & RYA Training Centre Principal at Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli / Port
Dinorwic Sailing Club, which is close to the Plas Menai National
Outdoor Centre in Caernarfon. Despite shielding, Ken brought the community together at a time
when many would have otherwise been alone, organising e-sailing programmes and
starting conversations across social media encouraging club members to share
their stories of sailing.
The venue name changes and the
special dedications are taking place following the findings of a new UK-wide
study commissioned by The National Lottery, which shows that two thirds of sport
fans in Wales (63%) say the pandemic has increased their love of sports and
appreciation for being active. Additionally, over
a third (38%) believe 2020 should be the year we celebrate community sportspeople
in the same way we celebrate professionals, a similar number (30%) say the trying circumstances have made them even more
appreciative of local sports volunteers than before.
"I still haven't got over
the renaming. I was both shaken and stirred when I found out, I was really lost
for words,” said Ken
"The club is part of my
family. During the summer, I tend to live outdoors and especially at the
sailing club. It means a lot to me.
"This club is a group effort
- there are a lot of people who are involved with this. Our commodores do a fantastic job,
they are very good people and this wouldn't be possible without them.
"We are the heart of the community
and the community are a huge part of what we do.
"Being family-based is
really big for us, it's a local membership and our racing turnouts are usually
more during the week than at a weekend because we all live so close.
"There are lots of things
the club have done to make life nicer for people, to offer that atmosphere
where people can be welcome.
"We get a lot of support in
the village; people can see what's going on. We're ordinary people - nothing
Ken has been involved with Clwb
Hwylio y Felinheli / Port Dinorwic Sailing Club for over 40 years and during
that time has had a huge impact on sailing in his area - always encouraging new people to take
up the sport.
Throughout the pandemic, he represented the
Club on every one of the Club Development Forums hosted by RYA Cymru Wales; alongside feeding back to the club on
all the guidance and advice to provide a Covid-secure
"Without people knowing it,
we have been hugely funded by the The National Lottery not just in terms of our
facilities, but the people as well.
"The funding makes all of
this possible, people are learning to sail because of that and it means a lot
Dame Katherine Grainger, UK Sport
Chair said, “It’s fantastic that sports across the nations have been able to
come together to celebrate grassroots champions who have gone above and beyond
this year. Around £30m a week is raised for good causes across the UK by people
playing The National Lottery, and has helped sport at all levels, from the
smallest rowing club to helping athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympics next
Sarah Powell, CEO of Sport Wales,
said: “With the help of The National Lottery’s players, thousands of grassroots
sports workers and volunteers from local clubs and organisations across the UK
have been be able to continue to help people and communities to remain active,
connected and motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grassroots sport also has
a fundamental role to play in providing much needed physical and mental
wellbeing in these difficult times.”
Cardiff-born Olympic Athlete and two time World Champion said: “The National
Outdoor Centre has played such an important part in my life and it is wonderful
to see it dedicated to Ken Newing in this way. 2020 has greatly impacted all
sports at grassroots level in particular, and thousands of people have not been
able to get the health benefits of being outside on the water and being active
as they usually would. The findings from The National Lottery show how much
people have missed the physical and social side of being part of their local
clubs and Ken has helped keep smiles on people’s faces and boost morale through
his work. On behalf of the whole sailing community, we are very grateful for
the work done by sports volunteers across the country this year.”