The Lensbury’s £1.2m investment sees elite athletes attend the launch of a new lounge

By Oliver Monk

15th May 2024 | Local News

The launch of The Dunbar Members’ Lounge featured a panel of major sporting figures. (Photo: Oliver Monk)
The launch of The Dunbar Members’ Lounge featured a panel of major sporting figures. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

The Lensbury's new members lounge, The Dunbar, opens today, Wednesday 15 May.

Managing Director Claire Llewellin-Davis describes the new lounge as "a third place" for the club's members, which along with refreshments from a fully-stocked deli counter, provides a new social space in The Lensbury's Clubhouse.

Design Director Frances Blackham explained: "The design has taken inspiration from the stunning location, gardens and grounds, the elite sports teams that use The Lensbury and the rich heritage that surrounds The Club."

The new Dunbar Members' Lounge. (Photos: Oliver Monk)

The lounge's launch on Tuesday 14 May paid tribute to the riverside resort's place in elite-level sports by hosting a panel featuring a number of notable athletes.

The group discussed pressing issues in the sporting world, as well as the public's approach to professional sport.

One audience member asked how the athletes maintain their discipline for their strict training regimes, prompting a response from sports scientist and former Olympian Greg Whyte OBE.

"The planning and structure of what you want to achieve is as important as the goal itself," he said, explaining how wearing the same underpants for all his fencing matches helped his "process of switching on".

Sports scientist and former Olympian Greg Whyte OBE with the managing director of The Lensbury Claire Llewellin-Davis. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Meanwhile, tennis star Ryan Peniston shared how his battle with rhabdo, a rare form of cancer, helped him "take a big picture view on things" when feeling unmotivated.

"If I can deal with that, I can deal with anything," he added.

Jodie Ounsley (otherwise known as Fury in the BBC's recent reboot of Gladiator) agreed with Peniston, having faced significant adversity as the first deaf female rugby player to play for a senior England side.

From left to right: Will Satch MBE, Ryan Peniston, and Jodie Ounsley. (Photos: Oliver Monk)

Fellow rugby union player Rosie Galligan is very familiar with The Lensbury, having trained there as a member of the Red Roses team.

She was keen to explain how 'sacrifice', a term often used to discuss athletes' demanding training regimes, had negative connotations that don't reflect her own experience.

"It's about being accountable for your own actions," she said.

The panel discussed what it takes to be an elite athlete, and the current challenges of getting young people into sport. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

In the latter half of the event, rower and Olympic gold medallist Will Satch MBE spoke at length about the importance (and difficulties) of getting more young people into sport; government data shows London's children are the least active in the country.

He emphasised that participating in physical activity has "got to be the kid's decision".

"Don't push them into anything," he said, explaining that providing as many opportunities for children to try different sports helps reduce resistance to such activities.

The Lensbury itself offers a pool, gym, rugby and football pitches, and tennis courts across its 25 acre grounds, as well as facilities for river-based sports.

The club has also hosted major sports teams like The All Blacks, England Rugby, The Lionesses, Manchester United, and many more.

For more information regarding The Lensbury's involvement in elite-level sports, visit their website here.

The panellists pose for a selfie together. (Photo: Oliver Monk)


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