Gold medallist unveils new-look leisure centre
A TRANSFORMED gym and café at Cricklade Leisure Centre got the golden seal of approval last weekend when it was officially opened by double Olympic champion Pete Reed MBE.
Pete, a former Cirencester Deer Park student, unveiled the £100,000 revamp at the community-run centre to an expectant crowd of around 400 people on Sunday.
And after cutting the ribbon, the British rower, who won Olympic gold in the coxless fours in London and Beijing, was presented with a golden membership for life at the leisure centre.
Over the summer, the former dated gym and bar area has been completely knocked through to create a contemporary and spacious training room and coffee shop.
The first floor space has been re-designed, so that customers of the leisure centre’s new cafe area can look down onto the swimming pool through an optional viewing window.
Pete, who now lives in London, told the crowd he was delighted to be back in the West Country and felt honoured to declare the facilities open.
He said: "I’ve had a look around the new facilities and they are absolutely fantastic.
"I’d like to say to everyone to just have a go at sport please, take on board what we have achieved. We aren’t special people – we are absolutely normal people. The benefits of sport are immediate."
Manager Gary Walker said the leisure centre, which is a non-profit organisation, had come a long way since it was saved from closure by local volunteers in 2007.
He said: "Without the continued community support and people using the centre as they promised they would, we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have been in a position to look at investment."
It is hoped that the £100,000 revamp, which was paid for with a low-interest loan, will increase membership.
Gary said future projects included roof repairs and a new pool pump, which could cost up to £1million.
And funding may come sooner rather than later for the leisure centre because it is set to become a host for Wiltshire Council’s split campus scheme in the town, which would lead to more services being placed at the community site.