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Mayor joins Olympic gymnast to open store

Kate Allsop, the Executive Mayor of Mansfield, joined Olympic gymnast Ellie Downie at the opening of a new Aldi store in Mansfield on Thursday (12 April 2018).

The Mayor and Ellie cut the ribbon along with Carolyn Hallam from Mansfield District Leisure Trust, Shaun Hird, Mansfield District Council's Sports Development Officer, and Aldi store manager Matt Hallam.  

The Mayor spoke to shoppers and employees inside Aldi while Ellie happily posed for photographs, signed autographs and handed out goodie bags to the first 30 people through the doors. 

Mayor Allsop said: "It is great to see a large national business such as Aldi investing in Mansfield and bringing jobs to the district. This store is a much-needed and welcome addition to the area - as seen by the number of people queuing outside today."

After opening the store in Oakleaf Close, the champion athlete from Hucknall, met young gymnasts at the nearby Oak Tree Leisure Centre for a question and answer session.

Ellie, who is currently recovering from injury, talked about her career from starting gymnastics at the age of three to her most recent success. 

She told the youngsters and their parents who were watching about the importance of healthy eating, especially to aid recovery from injury. 

She also answered various questions and offered the valuable advice that 'no matter how bad things get, pick yourself up and keep going.'

Ellie also drew the winners of the Commonwealth Games Sporting Challenge, which more than 120 children and adults took part in over six weeks from February. A range of free taster sessions were on offer to encourage and inspire people of all ages to become more active.

The winner of the over-12s prize was Eweline who won a one-month gym pass. Eweline said she tried out lots of different sports with her children Tomasz (8) and Emilia (5) during the challenge. She said it was a great opportunity to try new activities and Tomasz enjoyed the tennis so much that he's going to start playing. 

The under-12s winner is Harry Gilbert who will receive a one-month swim pass. 

The Mayor said: "It was so inspiring for local young gymnasts to have Ellie visit the leisure centre and I hope it spurs them on to future success. The benefits of exercise in all its forms is something we really want to promote in the district to encourage people to be more active and therefore healthier."

Carolyn Hallam, Sports and Community Development Manager at Mansfield District Leisure Trust, said: "We were thrilled to have such a gymnastics superstar at Oak Tree to inspire the next generation of local youngsters to get involved in this great sport and to help us mark the end of the successful Commonwealth Games Sporting Challenge."

Aldi is donating fresh fruit to the leisure centre as part of its 'Get Set to Eat Fresh' initiative, which aims to encourage children aged 5 to 14 to develop a love for fresh healthy food. 

The centre, run by Serco Leisure on behalf of the Mansfield District Leisure Trust (MDLT), has over 100 kids aged 4 to 11 regularly attending the gymnastics sessions. Places are available by contacting the centre on 0345 0000 231.

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