TELEVISION chef Paul Rankin has shown that food and fitness are the perfect ingredients for healthy living – by opening South Tyneside College’s new gym.
The former Ready Steady Cook star cut the ribbon to declare the £140,000 centre open.
Glasgow-born Paul, 55, performed the official opening in his role as an ambassador and consultant for Sodexo, the company that runs the college’s catering services.
The college converted its former 1861 Club, in the students’ union at its main Westoe campus in South Shields, into the new exercise space.
It has turned its former gym into a large recreation area housing a coffee outlet, seating and a pool table.
Paul said: “We all know that eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise are important, and it’s great to be able to mix both at South Tyneside College. It’s also good to know that the facilities are open to the public, thereby promoting the benefits of exercise to all.
“The facilities look fantastic, and I’m sure they will prove a great success.”
College bosses say the gym will also complement the transformation last summer of two rooms in the nearby Winterbottom Hall accommodation block into a specialist boxing and mixed martial arts centre, as well as a venue for dance classes and table tennis.
Eamonn Murphy, the college’s general soft services manager, said: “This is a major investment in our commitment to enrich our staff, students and any member of the public who wants to use the gym to get fit.
“Our fitness initiatives proved so popular and attracted so many people that the facilities became a little too small. We were a victim of our own success.”