September 23 - Sir Roger Bannister (pictured), the first runner to break four minutes for the mile, has officially opened a new state-of-the-art track in Maidstone which Kent officials hope will be used as a pre-Games training camp by a country competing at London 2012.

The 75-year-old opened the new eight-lane floodlit track at Sutton Valence School and also unveiled a gold plaque that bears the date of the grand opening and gave a speech to the crowd of special guests, pupils and staff.

Sir Roger said: “Sport is common to us all.

"We should love it and take a pride in it.

"Now, with the 2012 Olympics on the horizon, what an opportunity we have.” 

The School's headmaster Bruce Grindlay said: “This is a facility which will serve our school and the community, sharing and enhancing both state and independent school traditions.

“This facility will breathe new life and purpose into this part of the school, allowing young people to benefit from it, to learn from it and to excel on it.”

The facility at Sutton Valence School has been partly funded by the school, Maidstone Council and Medway & Maidstone Athletics Club at a cost of £800,000.

The track will be one of the finest in Kent, officials have claimed, and has been earmarked as a training venue for teams preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.

Sutton Valence School is already an official training centre for the London 2012 for athletics, badminton, basketball, fencing and archery.