DOUBLE Olympic gold medalist Heather Stanning was on hand to officially open Lymington Rowing Club's new base.

The opening marked the end of a long-running effort by dedicated members of the club to deliver improved facilities, with the new premises located close to the river on Redrow's Lymington Shores housing development site.

Members of the club, past and present, gathered for the event, with special guest Ms Stanning cutting the ribbon alongside Lymington Rowing Club chairman Mark Viner.

Rowers now have sole access to the site’s pontoon at a nominal cost under an agreement with the town harbour commissioners, alongside a state-of-the-art building to store boats and equipment, train and hold social events.

Ms Stanning, who clinched gold with Helen Glover at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games in the coxless pair, said: "It is cool to see how community rowing is developing everywhere.

"Somewhere like Lymington where you are right on the coast would not necessarily be where you think you would have a rowing club but of course you would – there is a river and there is a sea, so why wouldn't you?

"Having a facility where you can bring people in, get them on the ergo side by side to train and socialise is really important.

"They have everything they need here."

She added: "As a sport, rowing is great for so many people. It is not just something you can do as a youngster or just something you do when you are older.

"It is a sport everyone of any ability can do together and get something out of it."

Mr Viner said the search for a new facility had been a constant project in his 40 years as a member.

The move to the Lymington Shores base marked the end of life at their long-standing hub in Quay Road, which is incomparable to their new home.

The club have use of the building on a 125-year lease as part of a planning agreement in the Redrow development.

Grant contributions from local authorities and Sport England, alongside a significant amount of fundraising by members for many years, helped finance the kitting out of the club house.