Whitby Leisure Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday with a series of family fun events.
General manager Chris Storer has been in charge of the centre since its official opening on November 23 2003 and said he is proud of the reputation it has developed as a community hub.
“There was a lot of anticipation because it was not just a pool but a leisure centre as well,” he said. “Everybody was ready for it and there was even an element of ‘is it going to happen’ because it had been so long. But finally the day was here and we were opening.”
In attendance at the ceremony was 11-year-old Callum Gibson, who was chosen to officially open the centre.
Oddly, Callum now works there and is one of 30 staff members at the leisure centre.
Each week up to 4,000 people use the leisure centre, with the oldest regular user being a 94-year-old swimmer.
“At first there was no culture of indoor sport in the town because there were no facilities,” explained Chris. “For it to evolve in the way it has, it’s pretty solid, and people are used to coming here. I think we’ve got a good reputation and the staff are great.”
While the pool attracts the most users each week, including school trips, it’s the gym that generates the most income.
A recent refurbishment saw £150,000 of state-of-the-art equipment installed, but the high costs of operating a swimming pool means the leisure centre will always be at a deficit.
However, the leisure centre continues to expand its offerings to youngsters, a target audience Chris said he has been keen to engage with throughout the leisure centre’s life. He explained that one of his regrets is that teenagers no longer use the centre as much as they once did, with younger children more likely to attend the arranged groups.