WHAT started off as a dream five years ago has finally become a reality with the official opening of Norden High School's £1.3M sports centre.
The project to build the sports hall at the Rishton school was spearheaded by retired headteacher Denise Parkinson, who was unable to attend the opening ceremony.
Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, was the guest of honour at the opening on Monday and he said the centre would be a huge asset to the community.
He added: "Sport is very, very powerful. When we go out on to that playing field we are all equal and that's why sport gives young people inspiration. This is especially true of those who have not had the best opportunities academically because sport gives them a whole new meaning to life.
"This centre will change people's lives in the future and it will give an awful lot of people a lot of worth in life."
Funding for the centre has come from the Big Lottery Fund's New Opportun-ities for Sport programme.
Acting headteacher Mark Wilson said that the school owed a debt of thanks to Mrs Parkinson and added that the centre would ensure that PE lessons were not interrupted by bad weather in the future.
The pupils put on a display of sporting activities for VIP guests who included school governors and the Mayor of Hyndburn, Councillor Mohammed Rahman.
Councillor Rahman told the Observer: "It's absolutely excellent, a brilliant building. We could have done with something like this a long time ago but I'm glad it's happening now.
"I am sure that because of this centre we will have a lot more people interested in sports."
The centre will provide weatherproof facilities that can be used all year round as well as catering for new sports including trampolining and volleyball.
And it will be available for use by the community outside school hours.