Cantering to Olympic glory

Simon Bowen and David Andrews (left)-directors of Andrews Bowen Ltd., at Singleton pictured with some of the raw material they use for the arenas.
Simon Bowen and David Andrews (left)-directors of Andrews Bowen Ltd., at Singleton pictured with some of the raw material they use for the arenas.
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NOT many people know it, but Britain’s best dressage display at the Olympics for 104 years was made in Fylde.

Local firm Andrews Bowen built the equestrian arena from scratch at their Singleton HQ, then transported it to London.

It took 18 months and 9,000 tonnes of materials delivered by 800 lorries to complete the mammoth task.

Director Simon Bowen says it was the toughest thing he has ever had to do.

But it was worth every ounce of effort and sweat when the Great Britain team brought home more medals in the dressage than at any Olympics since 1908.

Mr Bowen said: “I feel really proud to have been involved in these Olympics because it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It was nice to sit at the arena in Greenwich, knowing we had built it, and to watch all the success the GB team had.

“It will be lovely to look back in a few years and think we played a big part in it.”

The company, on Fleetwood Road, Singleton, run by Simon and his business partner David Andrews, was chosen to build the Olympics dressage arena back in 2010.

But they soon found out it was a bigger challenge than usual.

Mr Bowen explained: “We do massive projects all the time – an arena in Qatar, racetracks in Florida – but the difference with Greenwich was that it had to be built on a platform four and half metres in the air.

“Nobody has ever done that before.

“Then there was the size of it. The average arena is 40m by 20m, and that takes 160 tonnes of surface. In Greenwich we’ve touched just over 9,000 tonnes.

“There were many moments when I thought ‘why have we taken this on.”

And the company cannot relax just yet – the Greenwich arena will be used again when the Paralympics start next week.