TODAY is the fifth anniversary of the day when Her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh officially opened Leigh Sports Village.
Since then visits from some of the world’s biggest sporting teams and tense rugby league internationals have been served-up in a state-of-the-art stadium.
Steve Jones, Leigh Sports Village chairman, reflected on progress over those years: "We have kept both very high quality standards and the ethos of Leigh Sports Village as a centre for everyone as over the past five years the breadth and range of its offers has increased.
"As important as hosting Bayern Munich's world class footballers before their Champions League match with Manchester United was, so was enabling Rose Bridge High School to play a special match against the Irish School that they are twinned with.
"We too are pleased that our partnership with Leigh Centurions has gone from strength to strength; the Stadium is their home, and I would like to think that the quality of what we can offer has contributed, at least a little, to their present success.
The Village is the home of the Independent Living Centre which supports those with physical and or learning disabilities - Leigh Sports Village is genuinely inclusive - the ethos that puts it at the heart of Leigh."
LSV chief executive Simon Toon, Chief Executive, admitted he was proud with what has been achieved: "I've been so proud to be the chief executive of Leigh Sports Village for the past five years, in which time we've seen it develop into a world-class venue hosting some of the biggest names in sport and entertainment. Most importantly, it's a place the people of Leigh are proud to feel a part of, and it's incredibly fulfilling that we are able to attract the likes of Elton John to play in their community. We shall look forward to the next five years confident that Leigh Sports Village remains a special place to visit."
Trevor Barton, chairman of Trust In Leigh, involved since the days when LSV seemed little more than a pipe dream, said: "At the time I was chair of Leigh Sports Trust we always thought Leigh Sports Village would be a major chance to spark confidence in people to invest in the town - and so it’s proved.
"It’s made people proud to be from Leigh, and it’s a wonderful place to visit. Having the Queen open it five years ago was obviously a big moment, as was seeing the place full for the Rugby League World Cup game. But I have to say it was just as special seeing 3,000 Guides and Brownies take their promises at LSV - it’s that kind of place.
"Leigh Sports Trust is now Trust In Leigh, and our activities throughout the community are a direct consequence of the confidence Leigh Sports Village has given everyone.
"Five years ago, did anyone ever think Elton John would be playing in Leigh? It would have sounded ridiculous. LSV has pushed back the boundaries.”
Next month Elton John plays the first date of his much-anticipated summer tour at Leigh Sports Village. The people of Leigh were stunned when the concert was announced last November, and quickly snapped up the once-in-a-lifetime tickets. Just a few are left, so people still have the chance to be part of history!