AN East Lancashire skatepark has been transformed to Olympic standard and is already booked for two international events with its official opening scheduled next month.

The £1.2 million redevelopment of Darwen's Junction 4 Skatepark's, which was close to closure at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, is now just weeks away from completion.

Olympic BMX cycling gold medallist Charlotte Worthington is already a regular visitor having trained there for last year's Tokyo games.

The grand opening is planned for the end of June with the British Olympic BMX Freestyle Team set to attend and test out the new tracks.

The stadium will provide top-class training facilities for skateboarders and BMX riders and includes a street skate plaza, dirt jump and pump track, and a BMX course.

Lancashire Telegraph: The indoor skatepark which has been transformedThe indoor skatepark which has been transformed

There will also be tracks for beginners to hone their skills and prepare to become the Olympic stars of the future.

Anthony Ramsey, who runs the sporting venue next to Darwen Vale High School, said: “I still can’t believe this is happening.

“To see how the whole skate park has been transformed over the last year really is a dream.

“When we took over the park in 2017, we grew the turnover by 500 per cent in the first year.

“But when the pandemic hit two years later, we were forced to shut and were on the brink of having to close our doors forever which was just heart breaking.”

Lancashire Telegraph: The skate park has brought a world-class facility to East LancashireThe skate park has brought a world-class facility to East Lancashire

Mr Ramsey sought help from Blackburn with Darwen Council, securing £250,000 through the Darwen Town Deal and further grants, including from British Cycling.

He said:“This is actually only the start. We’re already looking at phase two.

“It’s crazy to think we’ve gone from being one of the smallest skate parks in the country to now one of the very best.

“This will be a facility where athletes will travel to but one for the whole local community with the skate park, a training room for hire, a new cocktail bar and plans for a small retail village for local businesses.

Lancashire Telegraph: Gold medal winning Olympian Charlotte Worthington MBE has been training at the park. Pics: PAGold medal winning Olympian Charlotte Worthington MBE has been training at the park. Pics: PA

“The thing I’m looking forward to most is seeing local youngsters out there – perhaps one day Darwen will have its own Olympian!”

Along with upgrades at AFC Darwen - currently underway - the skatepark will be part of a new Sports Village for the town.

Wayne Wild, chair of the Darwen Town Deal Board, said: “It really is an incredible story'.

“The purpose of the Town Deal Fund is to transform towns and for Darwen to be home to an Olympic facility is an incredible feat."

Councillor Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This is a facility that Darwen and the whole surrounding area can be very proud of."