Hire firm gives sporting climbers an Olympic lift

Rock Over Climbing owner Tom Stewart with Astley Hire MD Stephen Dorricott
Rock Over Climbing owner Tom Stewart with Astley Hire MD Stephen Dorricott

A borough business is helping sporting hopefuls to reach new heights after donating a scissor lift to help build Britain’s Olympic climbing team’s first ever dedicated training wall.

The Hub has just opened at the Rock Over Climbing centre in Manchester, which is the first of its kind in the UK, and will also be open to the public.

Astley Hire loaned the lift to the project, allowing the wall to be constructed quickly.

It is a dream come true for former mountaineer and Rock Over Climbing owner Tom Stewart, after Olympic climbers told him they were in need of an indoor training wall.

The impressive £150,000 facility would have not have been built at all if it were not for Astley Hire and other firms and individuals donating equipment and resources free of charge, said Tom.

“It would have been absolutely impossible for this to be built without the help of these partners and everybody gave their resources for free.”

The 40-year-old added: “It’s the sheer level of difficulty of the routes which is important.

“If you look at the rest of the centre, it caters for all levels, we have two-year-olds and we have pensioners, but it’s not what you need as an Olympic athlete.

“So what we have built what provides them with the sheer level of difficulty that probably only ten people in the country can actually do the routes.

“We’ve tailored it so it works for the senior team as well and the junior team and the paraclimbing team.

“At any one time there will be 24 routes but we will change them every week and they will always be tailored to the climbers’ needs.

“The wall would normally have taken three months to but we managed to do it in two weeks. Astley Hire were very flexible, they gave us the scissor lift for 10 weeks, so it allowed us to get a lot of roofing work done too.”

Stephen Dorricott, managing director of Leigh firm Astley Hire said: “We heard about the Hub project and we were more than happy to help out with the loan of one of our scissor lifts.

“If our resources can even go a little way to helping the GB Olympic team then we would be very proud indeed.”

Climbing is one of four new sports being introduced into the Olympics for the first time at the 2020 games in Tokyo and it has divided opinion,

Some believe the new triathlon format, which will see athletes awarded medals based on scores across three formats - speed, lead and bouldering - is an exciting innovation. Others see it as a gimmick which demeans “real” outdoor climbing.