Tony Blair selling constituency home

Tony Blair is selling his former constituency home for £300,000, it was announced today.

Myrobella House, in Trimdon Colliery, County Durham, once welcomed the US President George W Bush, and has its place in history.

The £300,000 price tag represents 10 times what the Blairs paid for the four-bedroom pit manager's house in 1983 when he was elected as MP for Sedgefield.

It was remortgaged five years ago for £297,000, when the couple bought a home in London.

In 1997, the young would-be prime minister strolled from his home with family in tow across the open playing field to his local polling station on his last day as Leader of the Opposition.

In November 2003, he invited US President George W Bush to see how a British prime minister lived.

The modest home, at the end of a terraced row built for pitmen, was a stark contrast from Buckingham Palace, where the president and his wife Laura had stayed the night before.

The village had seen nothing like it when the president's two Sikorsky Black Stallion helicopters landed on the field outside Myrobella.

They lunched on fish and chips in the Dun Cow pub a few miles and tens of thousands of pounds in house prices from Trimdon Colliery in the pretty town which gives its name to Mr Blair's former constituency.

When the huge helicopters took off again, the force of the downdraft was said to have blown over local bobbies.

French former prime minister Lionel Jospin was also a visitor to Sedgefield in 1998.

The Blairs' son Leo was baptised in Sedgefield in May 2000.

Mr Blair was in his constituency when he paid his tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales following her death in 1997, when he famously said she was the "People's Princess".

The house is being sold by Robinsons in Sedgefield, where an estate agent said: "It is a beautiful big period property.

"We hope to generate a quick sale, we like to do our best for all our vendors."

Since the ex-prime minister stood down as an MP, Myrobella has served as the headquarters of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation.

The organisation, which supports young people and coaches to get into sport, said today it was moving to bigger premises in Newcastle.

Announcing his foundation's expansion plans, Mr Blair said: "I'm so proud of the progress we've made at the Sports Foundation in such a short space of time.

"Today's announcement of expansion shows just how important this work is.

"And it won't stop here.

"We need to build on this early success to improve access to sport for young people across the North East.

"The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are less than three years away and we need to use that to inspire and motivate children to get into sport, so that it becomes the healthy habit of a lifetime."

The foundation launched in November 2007 and aimed to get more young people into tennis, football, athletics and rowing by training adults to become coaches.

Since then it has helped 218 coaches or officials qualify, with a further 200 in the pipeline, and expanded into basketball and cycling.

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