Lee Valley: White Water Centre that was scene of firefighters death was purpose-built for 2012 Olympics

ALAN Soards, from the Lowestoft South fire station, was taken ill while he was in the water at Lee Valley yesterday and despite efforts of colleague and paramedics he sadly died.

Mr Soards was participating in a fire service water rescue training course at the Olympic’s water sports venue.

Construction of the centre started in July 2009 and was completed in December 2010. It opened in spring 2011 as the only brand new London 2012 Olympic Games venue that the public could use ahead of the event.

As well as white water rafting, canoeing and kayaking sessions, the centre also hosts a number of courses and events.

It boasts on its website that if you enjoy paddle sports, the guaranteed clean fast flowing white water at the centre is perfect.


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Visitors can experience the thrills of the Olympic rapids, drops, holes, eddies and boils on the 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course or the 160m Legacy Loop.

It has two separate white water courses and a flat water, warm up lake where people can practise a full range of skills in filtered, fresh, clean water.

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During London 2012 Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie won gold in the Canoe Slalom Double (C2) at the centre before a jubilant home crowd, closely followed by Richard Hounslow and David Florence who claimed silver. The five days of competition at the centre, and 60,000 visitors, created a pulsating atmosphere for one of British canoeing’s greatest ever moments.

- Pay your tributes to Mr Soards. Call the newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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