GLIDING enthusiasts have won a £50,000 grant for new equipment on the back of last year’s Olympic Games.

Windrushers Gliding Club, based at the airfield at the former RAF Bicester, off Skimmingdish Lane, made a successful bid for the cash from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.

It is one of 1,000 sports clubs across the country to get funding and each will be able to carry the London 2012 Inspire mark to celebrate the link to the Games.

Windrushers plan to spend the cash on a winch which is used to launch gliders. The current device is more than 60 years old and coming to the end of its life.

Club chairman Bob King said: “We are delighted and grateful for the grant of £50,000 we have received from Sport England.

“The UK is a world-leading nation in the sport and we are proud to be one of the leading gliding clubs in the country, with National and European champions among our members.

“This money, which has been granted to upgrade our launching facility, will support us in our work as a BGA accredited ‘Junior Gliding Centre’ introducing and training young people to the exciting and rewarding sport of gliding, and will ensure that we continue to offer our local community a world class facility.

Club director Lee Hitchins said the new winch will give it a low cost, reliable launch facility that will benefit all 250 flying members.

He said: “The grant was awarded because of our community volunteer scheme, which allows people to become members by volunteering their time to help out around the club.

“It was also awarded for the cadet scheme, in which we take on a number of 15 to 17-year-olds per year and help fund their initial training.”

Mr Hitchins said the club would be shopping for the winch soon.

Sport England’s chairman Richard Lewis, said: “This National Lottery investment is helping us deliver a lasting sporting legacy in Oxfordshire.

“With so many clubs in the south having benefited from this fund already, this is the legacy people want for their local community.”

  • RAF Bicester is in the process of being sold by its owner the MoD, and the buyer is expected to be announced at the end of March