Wiltshire Publications

Inspiring a generation: Olympic excitement hits Westbury

FANTASTIC performances from Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics has led to sports fever in the Westbury area, with the hope that Olympic enthusiasm will inspire the next generation of sporting enthusiasts in Westbury. 

Many local clubs report healthy growing membership numbers, while existing members have been spurred on to train harder and faster after celebrating the successes of their heroes.

Ted Walcroft, of Westbury Wheelers, says that the Olympics has been the latest burst of enthusiasm for cycling in Westbury. “There’s been an awful lot of interest – even before the Olympics with Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France,” he said. “We’ve had interest from both beginners and those coming back after a while.”

Club members have been making the most of recent cycling events, watching the Tour de France together in the Lopes Arms, and some travelled up to London to watch the Olympics events.

Ted added, “The Wheelers have seen a change in attitude to cycling in the last two years; we’ve gone from 35-40 members to 100 members across the board. We cover from the really hard road racers and time trial riders to our green group, which is people just starting.”

Sean Price, of Westbury Wheelers, and secretary of Avon Valley Runners said, “It’s gone absolutely crazy, there’s no two ways about it. We have phone calls and emails from people who want to get involved, and it’s all good news as far as we’re concerned.

“And it can be sustained. The way this generation is treating sport is fantastic. It’s not necessarily about being the best, it’s a lifestyle change. For example, people running at the Southwick parkrun are never going to win gold at an Olympics or even at local races, but they know it’s doing them good.”

Natalie Gordon, chairman of Westbury Amateur Swimming Club, said the Olympics has inspired the club’s swimmers. She said, “Our members have definitely been spurred on! Usually in the summer holidays our attendance goes down, but in the last week or so we’ve had as many as we would in term time; they’ve all been making the effort. In our training we’ve picked out aspects they’ve seen on the television to highlight and work on.”

Pat Walker of the West Wilts Youth Sailing Association said, “The kids are obviously very excited by it all, and now Ben Ainslie has won as well! We had the Olympic Torch replica visit us which was an extra boost.

“The kids did quite a bit of work prior to the Olympics, learning about the racing, and we took a load of children down to Portland where they had a fantastic day and went out on the water, racing where the Olympics was going to be.”

International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, raised one of the biggest cheers of the opening ceremony when he commended the thousands of volunteers which the games depend on. Similarily, local sporting clubs rely on parents, players and volunteers to continue running.

Sean Price said, “Yes, these organisations would struggle to exist without support. Luckily for us [at Avon Valley Runners] we have a lot of people who put in a lot of effort so it all happens. When you see people improving and changing their lifestyle and, to be frank, reducing their jeans size, it’s quite rewarding.”

Steve Cox, of the White Horse Karate Club, says that volunteers keep the cost down, allowing more people to participate, “It’s the way we work. The reason I’ve got 45 students is because I keep the cost down, the fees are just for the hall and its all non-profit.”


WOULD you like to revive your enthusiasm for a sport, take up a new activity, or volunteer your efforts to help a local sporting club?

Here are some of the sporting opportunities in Westbury and the surrounding villages. The list is also available on our website, and if you would like your club to be included, just email the details to whitehorsenews@btconnect.com


Sports clubs in the Westbury area


Westbury and District Cricket Club

The club is based at Leighton Recreation Centre. Westbury 1st and 2nd Team play in the West of England premier league, and there is a vibrant youth section.


Westbury Youth Football Club

Junior teams for both boys and girls up to 18 years of age.


Westbury United Football Club

The club was founded in 1920 and has played at the Meadow Lane ground since 1936. The club has always encouraged young, local players, and continues to move forward both on and off the pitch.


Westbury Amateur Swimming Club

Based at Westbury’s Victorian swimming pool, the club offers swimmers the chance to learn to swim from the age of four, as well as the chance to train and take part in competitions.


Run England – Westbury group

The Run England project aims to get the whole nation running, regardless of age, fitness level, aspirations, or background. The Westbury group meets two times a week.


White Horse Badminton Club

Westbury White Horse Badminton Club has been running for a number of years and plays two evenings a week, one in Westbury and the other in Melksham.


Westbury White Horse Karate Club

This shotokan karate club has been running for 30 years and holds three sessions a week in Westbury. The club welcomes children from six years old to adults.

Steve Cox 07800 776 104

Dilton Rovers Football Club

Dilton Rovers FC is a friendly club run by a committee of enthusiastic and dedicated parents and villagers who are please to see the playing field used regularly and children getting enjoyment from football.


Westbury Wheelers

With a membership of over 100, Westbury Wheelers welcome cyclists of all abilities. Children should be aged over 14 and accompanied by parents.


West Wilts Youth Sailing Association

This charitable trust is based at the lake in Westbury, with the primary aim of introducing young people between the ages of 8 and 18 to the sport of sailing.


Westbury Rugby Club

Westbury Rugby Club is based at White Horse Country Park, with a first and second team, women, and junior teams.


Southwick Country parkrun

Southwick parkrun is a free, 5km run at Southwick Country Park, which is held every Saturday at 9am. The event welcomes all ages and abilities.


Westbury Premier Table Tennis Club

The club was formed in 1994 by former International Jimmy Lowe, with the aim of developing the table tennis skills of young players. They meet at Westbury Youth and Development Centre on Saturday mornings.


Westbury Netball Club


Avon Valley Runners

With over 200 members of all abilities, the runners meet at least thee times a week at their training venues in Trowbridge, Melksham, and Bradford-on-Avon. They have recently started a section for juniors.