New sports centre opens; Milestone: First customers welcomed to facility after years of planning.
Byline: DAVID WALKER
Years of hard work paid off yesterday when a PS12 million sports centre designed to inspire future sporting stars from Moray was officially opened.
Residents had been calling for such a facility for a long time when plans for Moray Sports Centre were finally unveiled in 2015.
The "milestone" moment arrived yesterday when the building welcomed its first customers.
The charity-run centre offers a multi-purpose hall with separate gyms, an indoor cycling room and numerous studios.
Construction on the first phase of the development began last May, and fundraising for the next stage continues with proposals in place to create covered tennis courts.
Chief executive of the centre, Kathryn Evans, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that we are now finally open after years of planning and just over a year of construction.
"It certainly seems to have the wow factor.
"Moray has needed these facilities for a long time and there's nothing like this anywhere else in the area.
"This was the first huge milestone in what is a significant development in sport for the region and it feels really good to be open."
The venue is being financed by the Moray Sports Foundation charity and secured a PS250,000 grant from sportscotland.
Other cash has been raised by sponsorship and fundraising.
Ms Evans added: "The development of the Moray Sports Centre has been a real community effort, however we need to continue our efforts to ensure the future phases can be implemented."
Moray MP Douglas Ross welcomed the opening of the new facility.
He said: "I look forward to the centre expanding even further."
For more information and to view the new timetable, visit www.moraysportscentre.co.uk
HAVING A BALL: Moray Sports Centre leaders (in the light blue T-shirts) with children at play in the newly opened Moray Sports Centre