Clip ‘n Climb, the international market leader in the fun-climbing sector – the market category it created, has arrived in Derby. John and Emma Haslam O’Toole, of Fun Fitness Ltd, have brought the brand to the city and opened their new centre, on Kingsway Park Close, in February.

With over 100 centres and 3 million users worldwide, Clip ‘n Climb has become popular for birthday parties, team building, school fitness sessions and for individuals and groups combining fitness fun with challenges. Each climber wears a safety harness clipped to a braking restraint.

“We’re really excited to be bringing Clip ‘n Climb to the area and we are sure everyone will enjoy the new exciting fun and challenging equipment,” said Emma, daughter of local racing legend Ron Haslam. “We’ve been planning this for two years but we only found the building six months ago. Our builders have been working really hard and they’ve got this open in six months. We’ve had a lot of support from the family, they have been there throughout the whole process. Even last night we were still painting at midnight!”

The facility is filled with an array of brightly coloured climbing walls, each presenting a different challenge, including a pair of Speedwalls to race up. However, Emma’s husband John says it will provide a real challenge for all ages. “We first saw it in Southampton and, although the walls are colourful and bright and they look like it’s for children, (there is minimum age of four years) it is for adults too.” Although it looks ‘relatively’ easy, John says that the Triffid provides the most difficult challenge. “Definitely. It looks easy, but it’s all finger-hold, so it’s quite hard. It seems grippy, but it’s not as much as you want it to be. It gives our instructors a hard time to get up it quick.”

In front of a host of well-known names, on hand to celebrate the opening, Emma and John’s six-year old daughter Brooke had the honour of cutting the ribbon to open the new centre.

 She and the older celebrities were keen to try out some of the challenges. “What great fun and what a great idea to get kids involved,” said television presenter Rav Wilding. “I was quite an active kid, I was always out playing sports and doing things, but now so many of them are sat in front of a computer or TV all day. To have something where they can actually get out, hands on and really have good fun, I think it’s brilliant.

“I’m a big motorcycle fan, and have been to the Haslam’s race school many times. When they said they were opening this I had to come and have a nosey. I think the biggest problem they’re going to have is keeping the adults out – so the kids can get in! Great fun!”

Actor-turned-racing driver Kelvin Fletcher, who recently left TV soap Emmerdale after 20 years, said: “This is a class venue for Derby and I’m sure many people will come here and have a lot of fun. I thought it was for children but, having had a go myself, I think adults will be able to challenge themselves too. It has blown me away.

“I’ve had a great 20 years on Emmerdale and learnt so much but wanted a new challenge,” Kelvin added having revealed that after one season in the British Touring Car Championship, he has left to race in the British GT Championship in 2017.

Of course Emma’s brother, British Superbike star Leon Haslam, was keen to tackle the climbing challenges and he was joined by fellow motorcycle racers Jake Dixon and Derby’s Sam and Alex Lowes.

A 90 minute session costs £8 and  for booking enquiries Clip ’n Climb, Derby, can be contacted on 01332 943 999 or by email through their clipnclimbderby.co.uk website.