The Princess Royal officially opened the £31million flagship health, leisure and research centre, Bolton One on Tuesday 23 April 2013.

The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, has officially opened the purpose-built, £31million flagship health, leisure and research centre, Bolton One.

Bolton One has been built through a unique and visionary partnership between the University, Bolton Council and NHS Bolton. As well as providing our staff and students with an outstanding teaching, research and learning facility, the building represents three partners coming together to provide a fantastic asset for the local community.

The Princess Royal, daughter of Her Majesty the Queen, met the University’s Vice Chancellor, Dr George Holmes and ‘friends of the University’ including former Bolton Wanderers’ player and Honorary Doctor of the University, Fabrice Muamba.

Dr Holmes escorted HRH to the University’s Athlete Development Centre (ADC) where she viewed demonstrations by senior lecturing staff such as Colin Robertson who is Head of the ADC and Anna Fitzpatrick who is a lecturer in Sports Rehabilitation and currently pursuing a PhD in Rugby League injury epidemiology. Together with their students, they demonstrated the University’s state-of-the-art equipment in Biomechanics, Clinical Simulation, Physiology and Sports Pre and Rehabilitation.


The University’s Athlete Development Centre is a purpose-built, specialist human performance facility that monitors all aspects of an athlete’s performance from amateur through to professional level. Working with English Athletics it has also become the region’s first Endurance Coaches Development Centre. Such is its growing reputation, some of the region’s top professional sporting teams are now using the facility to push their athletes to the limit. 

The Princess Royal viewed the latest in equipment used within ADC, including a new HP Cosmos Specialist Training & Rehabilitation Treadmill which tests elite athletes to the point of exhaustion and can be used in the early-stage management of physical injuries, such as low back, knee, and hip pain by the University’s Sports and Spinal Injury Clinic.

The ADC is also home to the University’s Alter G anti-gravity treadmill. The treadmill was originally used by NASA astronauts to aid their zero-gravity training, but has since been adapted for Sports Rehabilitation purposes. The University is one of only five universities in the country to have this piece of equipment and the only university in the region. It has been used by professional clubs such as Rugby League’s Warrington Wolves and Football League side, Bury FC.

The Princess Royal also saw Fabrice Muamba help demonstrate the top-of-the-range resuscitation teaching equipment, such as ‘sim man’, which can be found in the University’s Clinical Simulation Suite (CSS).

The ‘sim man’ patient makes realistic moans and groans which can be preprogrammed to match symptoms. Sim man is used by NHS staff, such as nurses and paramedics, for training that is part of their professional development. 

The Clinical Simulation Suite in Bolton One mimics a fully-functioning hospital ward which allows students to work in a realistic, highly pressurised environment, preparing them for professional practice. This allows the academic team at the University of Bolton to educate and asses health professionals in a unique, realistic and dynamic way.

Said Dr George Holmes, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton: ‘Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, saw an impressive collection of demonstrations that highlight the very best in the teaching, sports and clinical equipment our students enjoy within this fine facility.

‘It was an honour and a privilege to welcome The Princess Royal and show her how proud we are of Bolton One.’

On arrival at Bolton One, the Princess Royal was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren J Smith and was introduced to local dignitaries including the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Councillor Guy Harkin and his wife, Colette. 

Before she left the building, Cllr Harkin, invited the Princess Royal to unveil a plaque commemorating her visit and the official opening of the centre.

Said Cllr Harkin: ‘We are delighted and proud that the Princess has honoured Bolton with a visit, as she was not able to make it earlier in the year. We hope that she enjoyed her visit to this inspiring and unique building.’

As well as the teaching and research facilities demonstrated to The Princess Royal, the University also has a 50-foot high climbing wall and a sports hall in Bolton One. Students and staff enjoy free access to the swimming pool within the complex during term time. There is also a gym and dance studio, as well as primary care facilities, which students and staff can access.