Leisure Centre Roundup – Looking Back and Ready to go Forward

Whilst I am writing this article I can see diggers, bulldozers and other plant machinery getting ready to start preparing the construction access road to the new secondary school and Leisure Centre. It is hard to believe that approximately 28 years ago, Littleport Town Football Club and Cricket Club were given notice that their lease on the Highfield sports field would not be renewed and we would have to find a new ground.

At that time I was Secretary of the football club and I wrote to the Parish Council explaining the situation and asked for their help in finding a new home ground which would be capable of accommodating the growing number of footballers and cricketers within the village. To cut a long story short, thanks mainly to Councillor Andy Wright a humble sports field and pavilion grew into the wonderful facility and community hub which we have at present.

Whilst the building is showing signs of wear & tear it does seem a shame that it is being pulled down to fit in with the plan of the whole site. However, the village will be gaining a brand spanking new Community Leisure facility which will comply with all of the latest energy saving technology and the running costs will be more affordable.

Since the Littleport Sports & Leisure Club (original title) opened its doors to the public on May 12th 1994 there has been many notable achievements and events that have taken place here and many of these have been the envy of the County and have helped put Littleport Leisure on the map.

To name a few of the major events, we have hosted the Royal Shakespeare Touring Company on 5 occasions, held 4 World Title kickboxing championships, 3 of which saw Littleport’s own fighter Mark Weller unify the different organisations titles. We have been the host venue for the Harley Davidson’s Centenary celebrations and for the Queens Golden Jubilee celebrations and our biggest event was the Millennium celebrations, which were for a whole week leading up to the new Millennium.

These events were held here every day and night, culminating in the Millennium night party, where 750 revellers saw in the new Millennium in great style, the like of which will not be seen in Littleport for many decades to come. A lasting reminder of the Millennium events is the large beacon which is located at the entrance to the site and underneath this there is a time capsule which when opened will give future Little-Portions an insight to what the locals from the 21st Century got up to.

Over the years we have seen a whole generation pass through our doors, many of them came down here for the first time as young junior school children and have continued to support the club and have held their wedding receptions, their children’s christenings and some have even held their parents wakes here.

As I have been involved with the Leisure Centre since 1989, first as a Committee member and then in August 1994 as Manager, I will have a lump in my throat when the bulldozers start knocking the present building down, but I am sure that the new facility will have a much stronger future and whoever is running the Trustees/Committees and Managing the new facility they will have a sound management structure and an achievable business plan to take the new facility into the next century.

Andy Rutterford
Centre Manager

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