Its an exciting time right now at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre with the opening of our new accommodation. There are 50 double en-suite bedrooms available, each equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, desks, bath tubs or showers and 8 purpose-built rooms fully adhering to DDA guidelines.
For accommodation bookings, please contact us on 01628 402582 (Mon-Fri 9-5) or 01628 476911 for out of hours bookings and enquiries.
Our new restaurant, The Engine Room and the cafe, Refuel have also both opened for business serving a range of drinks, fresh snacks and nutritional food for all site users.
We are also delighted to announce the completion of our extended weights gym, which has received a greater floor space and the addition of £40,000 of weights equipment.
Come down and see the new site for yourself - call us on 01628 476911 for more information or to book your visit.
Celebrate Christmas in Style at Bisham Abbey
Bookings are now being taken for our Christmas Parties. Celebrate Christmas 2014 in the atmospheric surroundings of our beautiful 13th Century Abbey. Our exciting range of Christmas parties and events for 2014 include:
Moulin Rouge Christmas Party
Friday 28 November 2014
A night of glitz, glamour and can-can cabaret makes Moulin Rouge a night not to be missed.
7pm to midnight, tickets £45
Friday 12 December 2014
The ultimate evening of entertainment featuring truly indulgent celebrations as guests enjoy a night of mystery with our elegant masquerade themed ball.
7pm to midnight, tickets £40
Traditional Christmas Dinner
Friday 5 December 2014
Relax and enjoy a sumptuous Christmas dinner, drinks and dancing with the stunning backdrop of the 13th Century Abbey.
7pm to midnight, tickets £38
Traditional Christmas Lunches
Thursday 4 and Thursday 11 December 2014
Come and celebrate Christmas in style with a themed lunch party encompassing a mouth-watering Christmas lunch and drinks.
12pm to 3pm, tickets £30
If you book your event before 31st August 2014, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of Prosecco per group of 6*
Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment by calling 01628 402589 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. More information including menus will be provided at point of enquiry.
Lord Lieutenant Launches Rivertime Boatability At Bisham Abbey
The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, the Honourable Mary Bayliss, has launched a new joint venture with Rivertime Boat Trust and Bisham Abbey Navigation Sailing School, Boatability, which offers non-abled participants the opportunity to participate in physical activity on the water.
The Rivertime Boat Trust currently works with disabled participants to offer them the opportunity for trips on the river. The new activities will be run from the Bisham Abbey sailing school and will offer dinghy sailing, bell boating, raft building and open top kayaking as taster sessions. Two new Bell boats and a Pioneer safety boat have been purchased by Rivertime for use at Bisham Abbey and a Wheelie boat will be delivered in July. These sessions will be offered to Special Needs schools and charities for the disabled.
These sessions will be aimed at local, regional and national participants, to allow the site to become a National Centre for Accessible Boating. As well as working with schools, charities, and universities the new venture will look to strike partnerships with various groups supporting the disabled.
The Rt Hon Mary Bayliss said “I am delighted to help launch this new venture with Rivertime and Bisham Abbey Navigation Sailing School. Since the launch of Rivertime seven years ago it has provided a wonderful facility for more than 10,000 disabled and disadvantaged people to enjoy the River Thames. It was fitting that this work was recognised last year with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary service. This new venture at Bisham Abbey will greatly expand the opportunities for many more people. “
The Rivertime Boat Trust was founded in 2006 because previously there had been no boat operating for disabled and disadvantaged people on the River Thames between Windsor and Oxford. More than 200 groups and 10,000 people have enjoyed using the launch ‘Rivertime’ since its inception.
For enquiries on Boatability, contact Peter May, 07742 495486 or email@example.com.
Easter Opening Hours
Please note that our Easter bank holiday opening hours will be as follows.
Good Friday 08.00 -18.00pm
Easter Monday 08.00 - 18.00pm
This will affect our classes on these days and we will run the following sessions:
Friday 18th April
Body Pump- 9.30 - 10.30
Body Balance- 10.30 - 11.30
Revs- 12.30 - 1.30
Monday 21st April
Body Pump- 9.30-10.30
Body Balance- 12.30-13.30
Bisham Abbey Wedding Fair - Sunday 18th May 2014, 11:00 – 15:00
Are you starting to plan your wedding day or busy searching for the best local wedding suppliers to compliment your dream day?
Then come down to beautiful Bisham Abbey on Sunday 18 May for our wedding fair.
Entry is free and you’ll get the chance to meet a range of the best local wedding suppliers including florists, chair cover providers and a local DJ to ensure your special day is as amazing as you wished for.
You’ll also have the chance to gain inspiration with a walk round the stunning 13th century Abbey, the former home of Henry VIII, as well as strolling through the picturesque grounds next to the River Thames, and subject to the project being finalised, get to look round our new accommodation including 50 double ensuite bedrooms.
Several of our rooms will be setup so you can get a taste of how stunning they look and fully visualise your special day.
Canapés will be served during the wedding fair and you’ll even receive a complimentary drink on arrival, so what are you waiting for? Book your place now.
Book an appointment to speak to one of our wedding co-ordinators on the day by telephoning 01628 402589 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior booking is not essential, so if you are passing us, just drop in and come and say hello.
Shoppers Help Raise £366 For Sport Relief
A big thank you to everyone who took part or made donations to the Bisham Abbey and Sainsbury’s Sport Relief cycling event on Saturday 22 March at the Marlow based Sainsbury’s supermarket.
A fantastic £366 was raised by locals and participants alike and the raffle will shortly be drawn to allocate the fantastic prizes.
Thank you to all involved!
Gym Weights Area Closure - Friday 24 April to Saturday 3 May 2014
In order to safely complete the building works at Bisham Abbey in May 2014, we regret that we will need to close the downstairs weights section of the gym between Friday 25 April and Saturday 3 May 2014 inclusive. This closure allows us to work safely on the project whilst still providing a service to the first floor gym.
During this period of closure, the current reception wall will be taken down and the downstairs gym will be extended in size to allow for over £40,000 of new state-of-the-art weights equipment to be placed in the new facility. This new equipment includes Synergy, lifting platforms and a range of other weight lifting equipment. This time will also allow for the gym floor to be fully repaired.
Bisham Abbey NSC would like to apologise for any inconvenience this causes gym users, but we very much hope you will enjoy our new facilities once the building works are complete.
Further correspondence will follow in due course.
For more information on this closure, please contact Kerrie Cook, email@example.com
Fab 2014 Multi-Skills Academy and Football Holiday Clinics
When: 10 April 2014 - 9am - 3pm, cost £30.
Where: Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, Marlow, SL7 1RR
Participants will benefit from:
- Professional Qualified Coaching
- Access & opportunities for trials at professional clubs
- Invitation to FAB Academy 10 week course
- The opportunity to train with other talented boys / girls
- Experience Football Coaching & Multi skills sessions
Categories are U6, U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13 and Goalkeeper Training.
Places are extremely limited and therefore booking in advance is essential.
Please bring appropriate footwear (astro trainers), waterproofs, shin pads and sun cream (if necessary).
To register and book a place, click here
Royal Visit to England Hockey at Bisham Abbey
The Countess of Wessex visited England Hockey on Tuesday 11 March at its base at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, Buckinghamshire, to talk to staff and players from both National teams, and observe a training session as both teams prepare for a summer of huge importance in the international calendar.
The Countess, wife of Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, has been Royal Patron of England Hockey since 2007 and is also patron of a number of other sports. HRH will no doubt be keen to see the teams’ progress this summer, as they compete for medals at both the Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands in June, and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland, in August.
During her visit The Countess of Wessex got involved on the hockey pitch, playing with England player Shona McCallin. HRH said afterwards: “I always really enjoyed playing hockey, it’s so much more than just a team sport. Hockey has a great social side and is a thoroughly enjoyable game to both play and watch.”
England Hockey Chief Executive Sally Munday added: “It was brilliant for both staff and players to enjoy a Royal visit, and The Countess of Wessex is clearly very enthusiastic in her support of hockey. Having HRH as our Royal Patron is hugely valuable to our sport. Hockey can be a real inspiration to children across the country, particularly given the recent successes of our National teams, and support from the Royal Family helps us to push that message out.”
Bisham Abbey Sport Relief Involvement
Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre and Sainsbury’s are proud supporters of Sport Relief in 2014.
The combined effort from the two Buckinghamshire based businesses will see members of the local community in Marlow have their chance to jump on board one of the exercise bikes provided at the local Sainsbury’s Marlow store in an attempt to help keep the pedals turning continuously for 8 hours to raise money for Sport Relief.
The charity event is open to all – from those wanting to pedal for just a few minutes – to those who would like a longer spin. There is no need to book, simply turn up at the Sainsbury’s store in Marlow (14 West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2NE) between 9am and 5pm, where the bikes will be located at the rear of the store towards the car park.
The charity event includes a raffle, with all proceeds going to Sport Relief and prizes*including:
- Signed sports star photos including Denise Lewis and other famous athletes
- A signed Soccer AM football
- A signed England Hockey shirt
- Vouchers for the sailing school
- A free massage from the Abbey Clinic
- 1 month's gym membership
*Prizes are subject to change.
Competition winner announced
Congratulations to Bisham Abbey’s Name the Café winner, Gary Parsons. Gary came up with the name, 'Refuel', which was unanimously selected by a committee led by Head of National Centres, Zoe Dixon.
Gary was presented with his bottle of champagne at Bisham Abbey by Partnership Manager, Steve Nelson and will return to see his winning entry above the café after the redevelopment works are complete.
Rush Hockey at Bisham Abbey - Every Thursday 19:30 - 20:30
If you love the rush of a team sport, but never find the time to commit to one, there’s now a game that fits around your lifestyle, Rush Hockey.
Rush hockey tackles participants lack of spare time with shorter games, mitigates fitness worries with smaller pitches and means everyone can get in the team spirit without needing to bring a team with them. Simply turn up and play. Bisham Abbey will even provide the equipment.
Rush hockey takes place every Thursday evening, 19:30 – 20:30 and costs just £3. Simply pay at the sports centre reception and head over to the hockey pitches to start playing.
For more information, contact Matt Edwards, Matthew.Edwards2@serco.com
Flooding at Bisham Abbey NSC
17 February 2014
Power has now been restored and Bisham Abbey NSC has now re-opened. All gym facilities and workout classes are available for use. We apologise for the inconvenience, and please note that flooding has still restricted the number of car parking bays on site. We will continue to work to resolve these problems and thank our visitors for their patience.
16 February 2014
Unfortunately we have had to close our Sports Centre again this evening, due to failure of our back-up generator. We are working to fix the problem and will try to reopen fully as soon as possible. Please continue to check our website and social media networks for updates.
Thank you for your patience.
13 February 2014
Unfortunately Bisham Abbey NSC is currently closed due to flooding and power failure, therefore there will be no access to the public gym, elite facilities or workout classes until we can restore the site and ensure it is suitable for public access. Keep up to date with our progress on Facebook and we will try to re-open as soon as possible. Thank your for your patience.
Hatha Yoga by Candlelight Classes Starting at Bisham Abbey - Thursday 20 February 2014, 8pm.
Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre is delighted to announce the introduction of Hatha Yoga by Candlelight classes.
Starting on Thursday 20 February and running for five weeks, the class is suitable for all levels of ability and flexibility.
Through its creative and fresh sequencing, this form of yoga allows the teacher to help practitioners prevent injury, relive stress, to feel encouraged and be inspired.
Hatha and Meditation uses asana and pranayama together to relax tensions, soothe the body and relax the mind, culminating in an extended period of meditation.
Regular yoga participants report better sleep, increased energy levels and muscle tone, relief from muscle pain and stiffness, improved circulation and overall improved general health.
Find out more about this class and all our other classes by contacting Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre on 01628 476911.
Extensive building works to the main sports block and the new accommodation facility have continued throughout December leading up to the Christmas period. The external building works to the accommodation have continued with the window installation and the final roof finishes nearing completion.
First fix plumbing and electrics are complete, and the buildings works are on schedule despite the inclement weather over Christmas.
The main sports block construction is ongoing with all public areas separated by a decorated permanent hoarding. The new stairwell has been installed and the internal refit of the Hockey, EIS and Canoeing offices are now complete.
Work on the 3G football pitch is also complete and the pitch is in use with our resident football academy, Fab Football. The changing rooms are in the final stages of completion and will be opening shortly, whilst launch dates for the Desso and grass pitches will follow in due course as the final touches are made to ensure the pitches have the perfect playing surface (despite recent flooding and wet conditions).
- Completion of building works to the Reception area by the end of February
- Gym extension works in the Sports Centre complete by the end of February
- EIS / Hockey kitchen area works to commence
We thank all site users for their patience during the building works.
If you have a specific question relating to the building works, please contact one of the following:
Steve Nelson, Partnership Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Paddon, Project Manager - email@example.com
Hospitality Assured is the quality standard created by the Institute of Hospitality specifically for customer facing businesses. The process encourages businesses to look at their own operation from the customer’s perspective and see where improvements can be made, whilst scoring the business against its 9-step standard.
In the recent Hospitality Assured audit at Bisham Abbey, the site was ranked with a score of 76.1%, giving it Premier status. Improvement was made on 5 steps since the last assessment visit, reflecting an excellent achievement overall by all those involved.
Get Fit With a Friend
2014 has seen the roll-out of Bisham Abbey’s ‘Let’s Get Fit Together’ marketing campaign, aimed at encouraging people to try a new workout class or gym programme with a friend, or with the help of the resident gym team.
This campaign features a new function on Facebook to request an appointment for a gym tour, which provides valuable data capture for potential new members It also promotes the online booking options and indicates that ‘exciting changes are coming soon’ to Bisham.
You Said, We Did...
Following feedback, you said that you wanted improvements to the front of house servery units.
In response to this, we purchased brand new front of house displays to replace existing catering equipment. This includes a new salad bar and breakfast servers to improve the experience of guests and staff alike.
If you have any queries, please speak to:
Steve Nelson, Partnership Manager
The Great Hall Granted Licence for Civil Ceremonies
The beautiful Great Hall at Bisham Abbey NSC is now licenced for Civil Ceremonies for weddings accommodating up to 150 guests.
The licence was granted for this beautiful and historic room allowing civil ceremony weddings to take place with immediate effect.
This is in addition to The Warwick Room, which is also available for civil ceremonies with capacity for up to 90 guests, meaning civil ceremonies both large and small can now be accommodated in style at Bisham Abbey.
To find out more about the historic Great Hall, to request a venue tour or a wedding brochure, please contact our wedding coordinator on 01628 402589.
Christmas Parties Underway at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre
The festive party season is fully underway at Bisham Abbey NSC. From Michael Jackson cover acts to themed medieval dinner parties with dedicated actors providing stunning entertainment, the Abbey has witnessed some truly fantastic evenings already in 2013, and we've still got some great evenings to come before Christmas and into January.
Christmas parties at Bisham Abbey provide a truly memorable experience, whether it's a themed company evening or a private function, the occasion will be exceptional and truly memorable.
To find out more about Christmas Parties at Bisham Abbey or to check availability for 2014, contact the Events Manager, Andrea Glasgow for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07738 897260.
Bisham Abbey Wedding Fair - Sunday 26 January 2014
Join us at Bisham Abbey on Sunday 26 January 2014 for our 2014 Wedding Fair, organised by Berkshire Wedding Fairs.
The fair opens at 11am and runs until 3pm providing a fantastic opportunity for you to meet a great range of suppliers all under one roof to gain inspiration for your special day.
Staff will be on hand at the venue to answer any questions you may have and to help you plan your perfect wedding day.
Venue showrounds can be booked on request, enabling you to sample one of Buckinghamshire’s most dramatic venues.
Set on the banks of the River Thames and dating back to the 13th Century, the Abbey has a stunning and intriguing history which includes ownership by Henry VIII.
Admission is free and advance booking is not required but if you do require any further information please contact the organisers on:
Telephone: 07708 249 440 or 07990 711 444
Like us on Facebook:
Building Works Update: Major Change across the Site
On arrival to Bisham Abbey this autumn, it would be hard to miss the dramatic changes now taking place across the site. Already the red steelwork has emerged for the Accommodation Block, and re-landscaping of the Sports Centre car park is surging forward. The main phase for the car park works are now completed,doubling the existing capacity.
Meanwhile the Football Pitches are beginning to look completely different than before. To improve the chance of achieving a reasonable grass cover over the following twelve weeks, cool germination grass cultivars are being included in the seed mix and nurtured by fertilisers to accelerate root development.
Inside the Sports Centre, the enabling and construction works for the main sports block has continued with creation of the new stairwell now underway. The existing lift is being demolished with partitioning works commencing to form the new walls of the café and Reception. Look out for the new displays which will be in the sports centre, giving you further detail of how the new facilities will look.
Forthcoming Building Works:
- Accommodation Block exterior walls
- Insulation and stairwell install on main accommodation block
- Completion of Hockey, EIS and BCU office refurbishment works.
- Main sports block fit out. Installation of new stairwell
What is a 3G Pitch?
A 3G surface, or ‘third generation’ surface is a long piled tufted carpet that has rubber and sand infill. Predominantly used for football, these surfaces offer maximum comfort underfoot, exceptional ball bounce as well as good ball roll and ball control.
The building project has stepped up a gear as works to the main sports block commenced a week earlier than programmed. Café Mojo has now closed and all main catering is now being provided from the Abbey, although sandwiches drinks and snacks can still be purchased from the Sports Centre Reception. Demolition of the existing accommodation block is now complete with the piling mat in place and all associated works complete. Steelwork have now begun to emerge from the ground, to begin to form the new accomodation block which will eventually offer 50 new bedrooms from Spring 2014.
Inside the Sports Centre, construction has begun on creating the new office space and exercise studio. A small section of the gym floor has been cordoned off whilst works take place.
Elsewhere on site, demolition works to the pavilion have been completed and piling and associated works are on-going. Pitch works commenced on 1st July with an 8 week preparation period for the grass pitches and 6-12 week bedding in period anticipated (subject to the weather conditions). Works to the synthetic 3G pitch have also commenced with a 12 week install program anticipated. The new coach park is now finished but is being used temporarily by contractors whist the building works continue. This will ensure that noise disruption to local residents is kept to a minimum.
Car park works are also expected to begin on 28th August 2013. This will entail a change to the entrance to the Sports Centre car park, and changes to access routes. These works may temporarily result in part closure of some car parking spaces, but alternative parking is available in the undercover car park and around the Abbey during this time. Work is expected to take three weeks (approximately) for completion.
Cafe Mojo Relocation
From Saturday 6th July, Cafe Mojo will be temporarily re-located to the Abbey as building works begin in the Sports Centre. There will continue to be a range of hot and cold food and drink options available. The building works will thereafter cause temporary closure to the lift and a section of the gym floor (w/c 15th July).
Thank you for your patience whilst this exciting transformation of Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre continues. Assistance for all those with accessibility needs can be requested from Reception during this period. If you have any queries or concerns, please speak to a member of staff.
Bisham Abbey Building Works 2013 - 2014
Work has now begun to transform the facilities available at the Bisham Abbey National Sport Centre. As part of a £6million redevelopment, The improvements will bring the outdated accommodation block into the 21st century, with 50 new high-quality double rooms and associated catering facilities, replacement of an existing grass pitch with an artificial grass pitch, redevelopment of 2 existing grass pitches and provision of a new fitness studio, larger gym floor and a dedicated changing pavilion. These improvements will help to meet the growing demand for year-round sport by the Centre’s many users.
Demolition has been completed of the old accommodation building on the site, as well as introduction of a revised parking and traffic plan around existing car parks.
In the coming weeks, work will begin on the following:
- Clearing of the old accommodation block following demolition
- Gym partitioning to be installed
- Removal of Café Mojo (temporarily replaced in the Abbey building)
- Development of a new fitness studio and extended gym space
- Removal of the lift (please speak with Reception if you have any access requirements)
Regular updates will be provided via our e-newsletter and on-site newsletter. If you are a current member or regularly use the facilities, please ensure that we have your email address to that we can keep you informed.
Major Redevelopment Plans Announced
Sport England’s improvement plans for Bisham Abbey have been granted full planning permission by local councillors. The improvements will bring the outdated accommodation block into the 21st century with 50 new high-quality double rooms with associated catering facilities, replace an existing grass pitch with an artificial grass pitch, redevelop 2 exiting grass pitches and provide a dedicated changing pavilion for these which will help meet the growing demand for year-round sport by the Centre’s many users. Work is expected to commence in April 2013.
Clay Tennis Courts - Now Open
After temporary winter closure, the clay tennis courts are now open again. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. To find out how to book our indoor courts, please visit:
Bisham Abbey set for 21st Century Makeover
The world-leading sports facilities at Bisham Abbey, where more than 30 British Olympic medalists trained for London 2012 are set to get even better if Sport England’s improvement plans are approved by local councillors.
These athletes won five gold medals – so if Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre was a country, it would have finished 16th in the medal table at London 2012. It is also home to our men’s and women’s hockey teams as well as being a thriving community sports centre – with around 180,000 visits to play sport by local people every year. More than 70% of those who visit Bisham are community users.
Now Sport England has revealed plans to make further improvements, bringing the outdated accommodation block into the 21st century with 50 new high-quality double rooms and replacing an existing grass pitch with an artificial grass pitch that will be help meet the growing demand for year-round sport by the centre’s many users.
Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “These improvements are part of our plans to ensure Bisham remains at the forefront of sporting excellence for both grassroots participants and elite athletes. We have consulted extensively prior to submitting our proposals and I’m delighted to say that so far we have had around 50 supportive letters from local people. Bisham is very much part of the community of Marlow, so having the support of local people is very important to us.”
A planning application submitted by Serco, which manages Bisham Abbey on behalf of Sport England, also includes proposals to improve the landscaping and habitat at Bisham as well as a small increase in parking provision at the site to improve traffic management, so that users no longer have to park on grass verges.
Serco was contracted last year for a period of 15 years to run and manage two key National Sports Centres, including Bisham Abbey, on behalf of Sport England.
Keith Thomas, Director, Leisure, Serco said, “Bisham Abbey is the home of sports training for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, professional sportsmen and women and community users alike. The planned improvements will bring yet another dimension to the facilities we can provide on behalf of Sport England cementing Bisham as a key home for sports training and re-establishing the facility as a ‘World Class’ training venue.”
The cost of the proposed improvements of around £6 million would be met through Sport England National Lottery funding.
Bisham Abbey Open Day - 21st October
Bisham Abbey National Sport Centre will be offering visitors of all ages the opportunity to try a different sport at an Open Day on Sunday 21 October, from 10:00 - 16:00. The Sports Centre offers a wide range of sporting activities to enjoy, from tennis to hockey, sailing to golf. Children's activities will also be on offer.
Taster Sessions for adults and juniors will include:
Bisham Abbey also offers a fully equipped, air conditioned gym with state of the art equipment and free parking. Visitors will be able to speak to a personal instructor, receive a gym tour, learn how to get more from a workout, discover great value gym membership offers and try a taster workout class in Spin or Kettle Bells. If you are an existing member, you can also bring a friend for free to try out the gym or a new class*.
We look forward to seeing you!
*Terms and conditions apply. Non-member must register. Offer applicable on 21 October 2012 only.
Football League Exit Trials
The Football League exit trials are held every year in the February half-term and according to the Football League's head of youth development, former Wolves manager Graham Hawkins, they are becoming bigger and bigger every year. This year the trials came to bisham Abbey on the 17th February 2012.
The trials which are almost a decade old, were once only open to players attached to officially recognised academies but for the last three years those belonging to a club's centre of excellence have been eligible as well. They take place over three days at Bisham Abbey, Lilleshall and, finally, Leeds, with approx. 100 boys attending each day. Every venue hosts four trial games, with the intention that all players have at least an hour to impress in his chosen position.
As the scouts started to arrive, the tension at Bisham Abbey reached its peak as the boys queued up waiting to register in the Warwick room they came from all levels of the Football League but also from universities and private academies. But for every scout that attended each one will have had a different objectives and agenda.
Unfortunately there are no official stats available about how many players have been signed by a club after being spotted at an exit trial. However, Hawkins and the Football League's hardworking youth development business manager Jim Briden estimate that 55% of the players at last year's trials had contact with another club.
The trials cost around £15,000. Despite the arguments about the merits of youth systems and academy football, who suggest that it is under-funded and not producing enough players, the intention behind the exit trials is clearly applaudible.
In an era when football is a wealthy global business, people can be reduced to statistics, the exit trials are an example of football's human face. As Hawkins said to me with great sincerity: "The care and welfare of the players is paramount."
Unfortunately for many of the hopefuls at Bisham Abbey the exit trials will be another step as they slip further away from their dream of playing professionally. But for perhaps just a handful of those lucky few picked up then it will all have been worth it and we have our fingers firmly crossed!
Bisham Abbey FAB Academy director brings home the trophies!!
The first ever Asian Football Awards supported by The FA and Kick It Out, with Sporting Equals as its legacy partner saw leading figures come out to support the glitzy event at the home of football, Wembley Stadium.
Guests for this event included David Bernstein (FA Chairman), Paul Elliot, Graham Le Saux, Piara Powar, Mihir Bose, Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) and award winners Michael Chopra and Manish Bhasin… and near a little town called Marlow the director of FAB Academy at Bisham Abbey Nas Bashir!!
Nas Bashir, director of FAB Academy (based at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre) was one of the selected representatives who had the privilege of being invited to attend the event due to his nomination for Coach of the Year award.
Unfortunately for his brother, Nas was unable to attend, so in his absence and amongst the wash of suits, his brother Tas had to collect the award on his behalf with FAB academy’s head coach Chris Ayres. The first call of the night was for ‘coach of the year’ award so Tas was on strict instructions to behave himself and had to watch whilst Chris was merrily enjoying the occasion swigging champagne!!!! With the tip off of having to prepare a speech before the day, hopes were high and the troublesome two were not disappointed when Nas’s name was read out as the Winner against his four contenders. However despite indulging in a particularly lavish three course meal amongst the other 300 guests at the impressive Wembley stadium, Tas was unable to relax straight away as he was whisked off to do a press interview after collecting the award.
The AFA managed to engage with key representatives of those individuals working hard to engage with their communities and develop Asians within the game. The event brought together representatives of clubs and organisations such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs, Aston Villa, QPR, Wolves, Charlton, Liverpool, The PFA and many leading Asian organisations. Nas Bashir was nominated for the Coach of the year award namely for all his hard work with the FAB Football Academy at Bisham Abbey and we are delighted he was recognised for all his hard work and able to pick up the award on the night.
Imran Hassan Co-Founder Asian Football Awards "It was really pleasing seeing so many key figures supporting and enjoying the awards, but the hard work begins now in our legacy programme."
The Asian Football Awards are due to be aired on Sony Entertainment Network Fri 10th Feb 2012. Sky Channel 782 and it sounds as if a few beers in thanks are definitely due between the brothers!!
Congratulations to Nas Bashir FAB Academy Bisham Abbey director for this fantastic achievement …and also perhaps to his brothers steel nerves for collecting the award on his behalf!
Sailing School receives Royal visit at London Boat Show
During a visit to the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show at Excel on Wednesday 11 January HRH The Royal Princess Anne stopped and chatted to Roy May and Tom Sowerby of local business Bisham Abbey Sailing and Navigation School on the School’s stand.
The School has been exhibiting at the Boat Show for some 17 years and Her Royal Highness was interested in all the activities running at the School, particularly dinghy sailing for youngsters and to hear that the School has been training some of the employees working on the Olympic site in Stratford in water safety.
Being the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Her Royal Highness was also intrigued to hear that the Duke of Edinburgh had visited the School at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 2002.
For Further details on the Bisham Abbey Sailing school please see their page on this website.
Bisham Abbey Prime Timers Celebrate in style!
Bisham Abbey members celebrated in style on 16th December as they were waited on hand and foot in the beautiful 12th Century Abbey for a Christmas Luncheon.
Jane Mannerings (Bisham Abbey personal trainer) looked very festive dressed all in red as she greeted her guests and she proved to be a stunning host to her dedicated group of 20 or so ‘Prime Timers’ members who attended the Christmas lunch she had organised for them.
The group were met by Jane on arrival at the Abbey and escorted to the Margaret Dickinson Lounge, overlooking the River Thames where a table fit for Father Christmas awaited them!
Complete with silver candelabras and Christmas crackers, the jolly group exchanged token gifts and enjoyed a sumptuous 3 course meal served by the superb Bisham Abbey catering team.
Bisham Abbey Prime timers club offers two weekly sessions for the over 50’s to help the community get more active with age, it also offers the opportunity for weekly health checks.
Jane Mannerings has been running the sessions for over a year now and her popularity and dedication to the group has seen her class numbers soar. The group partake in one gym session and one exercise class per week in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It is a great opportunity for members to not only keep fit and active, but also have the opportunity to socialise and make friends with people of the same age.
…But December 16th was a time for frivolity and not hard work! So as the group tucked into their Christmas puds, the gym was the last thing on their minds!! And I’m sure Jane was only to keen to remind them they’d have to work extra hard in the New Year to work it all off!!
Young Ambassadors Conference at Bisham Abbey
Dozens of teenagers from every secondary school in Berkshire will kicked off a major sporting event at Bisham Abbey in November aimed at encouraging youngsters to get more involved in competitive sport. Bisham Abbey was proud to welcome One hundred and twenty Young Ambassadors aged 16 to 18 officially to launch the Berkshire School Games at the venue.
The Berkshire School Games actually take place next year but the Young Ambassadors were keen to promote them now as part of their brief to spread the word and encourage more people of all ages to get involved in sport as players, volunteers, officials or in other supporting roles like announcers or sports reporters. As part of Bisham Abbey and sport England’s objectives ‘Grow, Sustain and Excel’ this conference went a long way to contributing towards this vision.
The School Games are part of the Government’s initiative to encourage more competitive sport in schools. The scheme has been developed to put sport on the national agenda as the country gears up for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games in London.
The Berkshire Games will showcase sports including athletics, hockey, badminton, netball, handball and cricket, with inclusive events for young disabled people including Boccia, new age kurling, swimming and sports hall athletics. The local rounds of the School Games start this term with inter school competitions. Next year, pupils from Berkshire’s winning teams in these competitions will face each other at Olympic and Paralympic-style multi-sports events being held at Bradfield College in April and then in June in Windsor and Eton.
The School Games will initially run for three years and is being pioneered locally by the newly formed Local Organising Committee, chaired by Derek Peaple of Park House School in Newbury. Their key role in organising and supporting the delivery of the Games was one of the topics discussed by the 120 Young Ambassadors that attended Bisham Abbey at the conference. They also get had the opportunity to meet Paralympic Gold Medallist Danny Crates and reflected on how they could effectively publicise the importance of sport and physical activity to their peers.
Derek Peaple, Head of Park House School and Sports College in Newbury and Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the School Games in Berkshire, said: “Given the central role that these Young Ambassadors will play in the delivery of next year’s School Games, it is very fitting that we are launching them at the Conference at Bisham Abbey.”
The Conference at the National Sports Centre, Bisham Abbey, was organised by the Berkshire School Games Organisers with input from representatives of the Committee organising the Games in Berkshire ans supported by the team onsite at Bisham.
Mark Lawrie, Chief Executive of Berkshire County Sports Partnership, said: “The Berkshire School Games offer a fantastic opportunity for the organisations that provide sport in the county to celebrate the achievements of young people in sport and to get even more young people involved in school and community sport in the future.”
The team at Bisham Abbey were delighted to be involved in the event and offer their support with the use of the venue and hope this went some way to motivating and inspiring them to achieve their goals.
Mike Diaper, Director of Youth and Communities at Sport England, who are investing up to £35 million of National Lottery funding for the School Games, said: “The School Games will help to inspire a generation of young people to get involved in competitive sport. Alongside our Olympic legacy programme, Places People Play, this will ensure we build a lasting sporting legacy beyond next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Inter schools Hockey Tournament at Bisham Abbey
Monday October 17th saw another great day in developing community relationships between Bisham Abbey and the local schools of Berkshire. A whirlwind of excitement and anticipation surrounded the event and it was thrilling to see the student’s enthusiasm and delight at the opportunity of training in such a prestigious venue.
The annual inter-schools hockey tournament involves students from Year 5 and 6 from the local area. In total the number of students involved in the event at Bisham Abbey reached approximately 140 with another 20 members of staff who also came along to help support on the day.
Bisham Abbey kindly agreed to host the event and give the children the experience, and the opportunity to use the same training facilities and pitch as both the men’s and ladies G.B. teams who regularly train on Astroturf at the venue.
Leaders from Furze Platt Senior School helped organise and officiate this exciting tournament and winners from both the boys and girls event will be being invited to play again in the county finals at the beginning of 2012.
We hope that we may continue to develop this essential integration between the elite and the community and look to develop this important relationship. We look forward to further future events of this nature and were happy we were able to support the advancement of these young students enthusiasm and passion for sport.
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Jatta VGS, Norweigen School at Bisham Abbey
The Norwegian school group ‘Jatta VGS’ came to Bisham Abbey this month for an eight night, multi sports residential training camp this month.
The sports college from Norway brought over a huge group of 58 students, the majority of whom were resident at Bisham Abbey for the duration of their stay, with the overflow of the group staying at Longridge activity centre a few minutes down the road from the abbey.
The pupils who were delighted with the unseasonal heat wave they managed to catch throughout their stay (!) were also extremely impressed by Bisham Abbey and the quality of the facilities on offer at the venue.
During their stay the pupils received football, rugby, hockey and tennis coaching, using high quality coaches sourced through the staff at Bisham Abbey. They did however take some time out with a couple of trips into London to experience the standard tourist trails and to watch a couple of professional football matches, before competing in their own against the Bisham Abbey Football Academy.
The team who have already expressed their desire to return next year were a fantastic group of individual who were a pleasure to host and we hope we can look forward to welcoming them back again next year!
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Bisham Abbey Tennis Success!
Three pupils of the WIN Tennis Academy based at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre - have tasted elite success in this year’s AEGON Junior National Championships and the HSBC Road to Wimbledon Finals.
AEGON is one of the UK’s most prestigious junior events, which has seen the like of Andy Murray fight his way to success, and now 15-year-old Harriet Dart and 16-year-old Josh Page look set for similar success. Harriet claimed both the U16 Girls Singles and Doubles titles, while Josh walked away U16 Boys Singles Champion. Success elsewhere in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon Finals saw the 14-year-old Hannah Brent completed a hat-trick of success for WIN by claiming the Girls Singles title.
The three pupils have been based at Bisham Abbey for three years now training with the High performance WIN Tennis Academy. The WIN Tennis Academy is accredited by the LTA as an International High Performance Centre and strives to develop young tennis players to the highest standard, with the aim of creating tennis champions.
On Harriet and Josh’s success, Head of WIN Academies, Mike Walker, said:
"I am delighted that Harriet and Josh have won the u/16 titles at the AEGON Junior National Championships – they are both valued members of the Win Tennis Academy programme and we have seen them grow into self-assured and mature individuals. They have consistently shown that they are totally committed to improving their tennis and fitness, culminating in these fantastic results.
“We have an excellent team of coaches and staff who work extremely hard with our player’s day in, day out. They are dedicated to giving them the tools and confidence to achieve their ambitions and it is a tribute to them that we have two great examples in Harriet and Josh of what can be achieved when you have the desire and determination to succeed.”
Great News for our talent development at Bisham Abbey and big congratulation to the three young competitors!
Community meets Elite athletes
Wednesday 20th July saw a fantastic interaction between the local community and Elite sportsmen at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.
Cowplain community school pupils from years 8and 10 had the exciting opportunity to visit Bisham Abbey earlier this month. The group of approx. 40 pupils and a small collection of staff arrived early in the morning to a 30 minute site tour with a member of Bisham Abbey’s team. They were given an information pack on arrival to help guide them through the day including some details about Bisham Abbey, the National Centres and Sport England.
They then had the unique experience of being invited into the Physiology lab at the English Institute of Sports (EIS) performance centre at Bisham Abbey. They were introduced to Jean Watson, Head of operations in EIS at Bisham Abbey who gave them a tour of the facilities and educated them on the work undertaken by the staff of the EIS and their role in elite development. Furthermore they were then given the privilege of being taken into the EIS high performance gym with Jean where they were able to indulge in Q&A.
The large school group breaked for lunch in the Great Hall alongside England and Korea’s men’s Hockey squads. After which they were permitted to watch England Hockey and Korea in action as they took each other on in what was the second of three matches which they went on to play during their training camp at Bisham.
Their day ended with a 30 minute presentation from Kerrie Cook sales Manager at Bisham abbey on the role of the National Sports Centres and Bisham Abbey. After a brief Q&A They were then able to partake in two hours of facility hire of their choice, the school brought their own equipment with them and opted for Tennis and Football to bring the day to a close.
The team received some fantastic feedback following the tour from the pupils and staff alike-
‘Brilliant trip, fantastic grounds’
‘The trip was amazing, I would definately go again’
‘I loved it and the food was amazing’
‘Very interesting, I loved it’
‘It was excellent, thank you’
Egypt V England Hockey
The Egyptians men’s Hockey team took advantage of the new astro turf at Bisham Abbey this month. The group, who were resident at the National Sports Centre for 5 nights, were also subject to two gruelling matches against the home GB team.
England’s men gave the visiting team a shock with their skillfull play during the first match and took the Egyptian team down 3 – 1, however they soon began to prove themselves a worthy contestant by their draw of 3-3 only a short few days later in the last of two matches. Despite the result it was obvious that the hosts were unfortunate not to win having enjoyed the better of the chances throughout the match.
Afterwards, Team Manager Andy Halliday said, “We struggled to break them down... They sat men behind the ball and we didn’t quite have enough about us to get through.”
England’s players now prepare for next week’s London Cup in Chiswick with hundreds of school children set to cheer them on against Belgium later in the month as part of Schools Day.
As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend celebrations, the Wycombe Community Festival took place on Saturday 23rd July, from 1pm to 7pm, on the Rye in High Wycombe.
The festival provided a free family fun day open to everyone to enjoy the variety of sporting taster sessions available and vibrant performances, colourful parades and also to learn about the types of sports and activities happening within their local area that they could get involved with. The event also provided a platform to showcase local young musical talent, with performances by visiting professional artists. The activities planned will encourage the community to take part in dancing, sporting activities and generally celebrating diverse cultures.
Bisham abbey was proud to not only be a part of this event, but also contribute towards the success of this spectacular festival. The team from Bisham abbey were delighted by the enthusiasm and interest of the general public, the two paddle ergo’s which were organised to be brought down for the day provided the opportunity for the public to have a taste of a new sport and proved to be a real hit.
Business development manager Claire Broomby commented;
“I was amazed by the enthusiasm and response, the ergo’s weren’t vacant all day, in fact at several points during the day there was not only a queue, but a small crowd cheering the participants along! It was fantastic to see the athletes inspiring the community!”
This was undoubtedly enhanced by the guidance, coaching and commitment of the four British Canoe Union athletes who also attended with the Bisham team and who offered encouragement and tips for those willing to participate. British Canoe Union athletes Hayleigh Mason, Ed Rutherford, Kristian Reeves and Tom Hide provided not only a fantastic role model for the younger participants throughout the day but also an excellent reflection on their commitment to their sport and willingness to give back to the community. The team were also supported by Bisham Abbey’s WIN tennis High performance Tennis Academy who also supported the team with free tennis taster sessions throughout the day.
The Bisham abbey team produced a ‘Top Gear’ style leader board which represented the fastest time to 100 metres for various age groups. This provided a competitive element to the taster sessions and led to several members of the public coming back for a second and third go! The fastest time of the day (excluding the athletes!!) was a phenomenal 17.6 seconds by Matt who consequently won the prize of a 3 month membership at Bisham Abbey.
All proceeds from the day will go towards a new legacy project endorsed by Sir Steve Redgrave. It will provide people throughout Buckinghamshire with the opportunity to try a large variety of Olympic and Paralympic sports within local clubs and facilities. The project has been recognised by the London 2012 Olympic committee, who granted it the 2012 inspire mark status.
The gym, located in the sports centre has recently undergone a £300,000 refurbishment, with investment being made in state of the art gym equipment from supplier Life Fitness. New equipment includes treadmills, cross-trainers, spinning bikes, Power Plates and an extensive free weights area.
Bisham Abbey has launched it's new website. Not only have we had a visual overhaul, but we're also adding in some great new features including a new online bookings system and online membership sign-up.
If you have any feedback on the new site, please contact us.