Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is to step down as chair of ukactive, the not-for-profit industry association for promoting active lifestyles, after six years in the post, the organisation has announced.

Grey-Thompson, an 11-time Paralympic gold medallist, will leave the role in August next year, having taken over from Fred Turok in 2015.

She is credited with making ukactive “the sector driving force it is today” through close work with its members and partners.

In addition, Grey-Thompson has guided ukactive through the last 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic in an industry – gyms and leisure centres – that has been hit particularly hard, working to help organisations in the sector survive and recover from the impact.

In her final ukactive Conference speech on 13 October, Grey-Thompson will “reflect on the progress made by the physical activity sector during her tenure, set out plans for her final year as ukactive chair, and look to the future growth of the industry.”

Previously, Grey-Thompson has sat on the boards of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Transport for London and the London Marathon.

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She remains a peer of the UK House of Lords, a board trustee at SportsAid charity for young athletes and an advisor at the business leadership firm EQUIIDA.

In addition, in July, Grey-Thompson was elected president of the Local Government Association, the UK’s national membership body for local authorities.

Grey-Thompson said: “I am immensely proud of the progress we have made and the leadership ukactive has shown, from the development of a world-class board to forming a uniquely talented team, developing innovative ways to add value to our members, and uniting the voice of the industry during the pandemic.”

Huw Edwards, chief executive of ukactive, added: “It has been an incredible honour to work with Tanni during her time as Chair of ukactive, especially throughout my period as chief executive from August 2019.

“She has been the greatest champion our members could possibly have had over the past six years, with an unrivalled belief and enthusiasm for the role physical activity plays in improving people’s lives. She has taken this belief and enthusiasm into every meeting and every event she’s had on behalf of our members, unrelenting in her quest to help them grow and develop.

“Furthermore, her support to me, the team, and the wider sector in the past 18 months of the Covid pandemic has been fundamental to the survival and continued recovery of the sector.”

The recruitment process for a new chair of ukactive will be announced later this month with a view to an appointment being made in spring 2022. The process will be delivered by Starfish Search.