Sheffield's icon SIV venues celebrate £500m silver jubilee

Silver anniversary celebrations under way at SIV's Ponds Forge

Silver anniversary celebrations under way at SIV's Ponds Forge

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Three Sheffield iconic venues are celebrating their 25th birthdays as it was revealed today almost 60 million people have visited them - generating over £500 million for the city's economy.

Three Sheffield iconic venues are celebrating their 25th birthdays as it was revealed today almost 60 million people have visited them - generating over £500 million for the city's economy.

Sheffield Arena, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and Hillsborough Leisure Centre are all operated by Sheffield International Venues, opened in 1991.

Superstars Justin Bieber, Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli and Bryan Adams will form part of the celebrations - they will all perform at the Arena this year.

The GB Rio 2016 diving trials, ASA Masters and Summer and Special Olympics GB’s National Summer Games will be hosted at the two sports venues.

The £53 million Olympic-standard Ponds Forge, which remains one of the world’s best aquatics, sport, leisure and events venues, has welcomed more than 25 million people since it was opened by HRH Princess Anne on April 17, 1991.

Singing superstar Paul Simon was first to perform at Sheffield Arena 25 years ago.

Singing superstar Paul Simon was first to perform at Sheffield Arena 25 years ago.

Also opening its doors that day was Hillsborough Leisure Centre, which has been visited by 18 million people and delivered more than 1.2 million swimming lessons.

The £34 million Sheffield Arena was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on May 30, 1991 ahead of its first concert - Paul Simon’s Born at the Right Time tour.

Over 16 million people have since visited the 13,000-seater arena, which has hosted more than 3,000 events.

They were built by Sheffield City Council as part of the 1991 World Student Games, which left taxpayers with a bill for millions - but facilities which have produced stars like Olympic golden girl Jess Ennis-Hill and affirmed Sheffield as a city for sporting excellence.

SIV is a subsidiary of Sheffield City Trust and serves as its operational arm.

Steve Brailey MBE, chief executive of SIV, said: “We are extremely proud to be celebrating 25 years of success. These much-loved facilities have become part of the fabric of the city."

Former sports minister Richard Caborn, one of the founders of Sheffield City Trust in 1991 and its first chair until 1997, now chair of the Olympic Legacy Park, said: “SIV should be rightly proud of the success of the Arena, Ponds Forge and Hillsborough and congratulated for the positive impact they’ve had on the city economy and the health of Sheffield people."

Olympic silver medallist Leon Taylor said: “I trained at Ponds Forge. The facilities are first-class - there isn’t a better venue.”

* See The Star tomorrow for a look back at the great three venue and tell us your memories - email yours, with #StarSIVMemories in the subject field, to graham.walker@jpress.co.uk, tweet him @GW1962 using #StarSIVMemories or post to #StarSIVMemories, Graham Walker, Digital Editor, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11PU.