Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, is coming to Ellesmere Port today (Wednesday, May 20) to officially open the new £15m sports village.

The Earl will be received at about 1pm by Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, and chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council Bob Rudd, before meeting other dignitaries.

He will be taken on a tour by the building’s Brio manager Kerry Graham and will meet current Commonwealth Super-Flyweight champion and Ellesmere Port resident Paul Butler, also an undefeated Bantamweight Champion, who has boxed for his country in more than 30 matches and is currently fighting in the super-flyweight category.

Packing a punch: Butler in his professional debut against Anwar Alfad which ended in a win for the boxer from Ellesmere Port
Packing a punch: Butler in his professional debut against Anwar Alfad which ended in a win for the boxer from Ellesmere Port

After viewing the state-of-the-art fitness studios and 80-station gym, the Earl will be escorted by Cllr Rudd to meet representatives from Sport England, the Ellesmere Port Development Board, Cheshire FA, Active Leisure and the council’s contractor for the build, Wates Construction.

Swimming display

Pupils from William Stockton and Cambridge Road Primary Schools and Brio representatives will greet Prince Edward at the eight-lane competition swimming pool where he will chat to children after enjoying a swimming display.

While touring the building Edward will hear how the construction of the new facility has benefited local residents, with 40% of the workforce being recruited locally and successful work placements including a trainee engineer and a trainee site manager leading to permanent offers of employment with Wates Construction.

In the facility’s sports hall, which features an eight-court badminton hall with a seating capacity of 1,400 – soon to become home to the Cheshire Phoenix basketball team - the club will display their Hoops 4 Health community programme with primary school pupils.

Hoops 4 Health is the British Basketball League’s national scheme combining basketball coaching with practical healthy living advice including the importance of keeping physically active and eating right for young people aged between eight and 11.

A patron of the British Paralympic Association (BPA), The Earl will then meet local para sports coach and volunteer for the Ellesmere Port, Chester and Neston Special Olympics Marjorie Rainford and some of the young people she works with.

The group train in football, netball, table tennis, Boccia and tenpin bowling, playing skill and memory games involving tactical thinking with young people with learning difficulties.


Prince Edward will then officially open Ellesmere Port’s iconic sports village by unveiling a special plaque.

The £15m Ellesmere Port Sports Village

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s head of places strategy Alison Knight, said: “We are incredibly proud and honoured to have His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, officially open Ellesmere Port’s iconic new leisure facility.

“This project has worked hard to encompass the needs of local residents and future generations – the community are at the very heart of this project and we have all worked together to create a state-of-the-art all-inclusive facility that will benefit residents for many years to come.”

A new 3G all-weather pitch is due for completion this summer, which will complement the competition athletics track already in situ at the site. The building will have the capacity to host regional and televised events.

The ambitious £15 project, which has been funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council, with £1 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Iconic Facilities legacy fund, will officially open to the public on Tuesday, May 26.

Following his trip to Ellesmere Port, the Earl of Wessex will travel to Chester to visit the Riverside Buildings of the University of Chester to mark the 175th anniversary of the university.