A SAILING facility has been opened in memory of an Olympic champion who died when his boat capsized in California.

The Andrew Simpson Foundation (ASF) merged with Berkshire Sailing Training Centre (BSTC) to open the Watersports Centre in Reading.

Simpson was just 36 when he died during his preparation for the America's Cup in 2013 and it is hoped the new centre will provide all-year access for sailing and watersports.

Miles Bradbury, ASF chairman, added: “The foundation is delighted to have extended our UK presence to include a Centre in the Thames Valley region and to be given the opportunity to take on the charitable work of the BSTC.

“Andrew grew up in this region and sailed here, so this is a particularly poignant and exciting step as we continue to grow our charitable activities.”

The centre will promote affordable sailing to young people aged five to 24 and all proceeds generated from teaching will allow the ASF to expand its programme.

Bernard Fyans, BSTC chairman, added: “BSTC has operated at Theale Lake for over 50 years under various titles providing sail training for children.

“The trustees and I are really pleased that we have merged with another charity with similar objectives but with much wider resources.”