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The Olympic past of club's sauna revealed

Thursday 25th February 2021

FOR decades the “oldest Olympic sauna in existence” has refreshed athletes, Test cricketers and even the father of Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger.

As a thank you after the 1948 games, the Finnish Olympic Committee dismantled its Richmond Park sauna and donated it to Aylesford.

The building remains in place on the old Reed Paper Mill site and, up until 18 months ago, was still in regular use by its 22 members.

Secretary and treasurer of Cobdown Sauna Club Richard Young (69) said: “I always knew the building was something special, but I never imagined that it would be this significant to so many people. It is history.”

The sauna is now in need of new fire doors, exits, signage and electrics that could cost the club more than £4,000 to repair.

Mr Young, who has been a member of the club for 30 years, said the British Sauna Society had no idea of the sauna’s survival and were “wetting themselves with excitement” at getting to see it in person.

He added: “I wish we had contacted them sooner but we had no clue. The founder and president of the society, Mika Meskanen, was gobsmacked at the Finish features still intact, everything from the footbath to the doorknobs.”

The Finish Olympic team used Aylesford Paper Mill’s running tracks to train for the games and donated the sauna to the sports club for their own use as a token of their appreciation.

The sauna has been used over the years from the everyday villagers calling in after a hard day’s work to world renowned athletes, international footballers, cricketers, and rugby players.

For information to join the club contact Richard Young at richyoung@aol.com or 07734960706.  

 

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