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In pictures: Remember when Sharron Davies, Suzanne Dando and Chris Barrie turned up at Newbury's leisure centre



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In September 1994, the Northcroft Leisure Centre held a star-studded open day following a major refurbishment.

Opening the new look facility were swimmer Sharron Davies, gymnast Suzanne Dando and actor Chris Barrie, behaving like his alter ego Gordon Brittas, an insufferable leisure centre manager in the popular sitcom The Brittas Empire.

Also there on the day were footballers Alan Ball, part of the England 1966 World Cup squad, and international player Peter Beardsley.

Gymnast Suzanne Dando, actor Chris Barrie and swimmer Sharron Davies
Gymnast Suzanne Dando, actor Chris Barrie and swimmer Sharron Davies
Sharron Davies dives into the pool
Sharron Davies dives into the pool
Sharron Davies gets competitive
Sharron Davies gets competitive
The day included a closely-fought 'It's a Knockout' style competition
The day included a closely-fought 'It's a Knockout' style competition
Chris Barrie - aka leisure centre manager Gordon Brittas - welcomes everyone to the open day
Chris Barrie - aka leisure centre manager Gordon Brittas - welcomes everyone to the open day

Thousands of people turned up for the day and to view the new, updated facilities.

Former England footballer Alan Ball holds a training session
Former England footballer Alan Ball holds a training session
Footballer Peter Beardsley and his son show-off some footballing skills
Footballer Peter Beardsley and his son show-off some footballing skills
Gymnast Suzanne Dando, actor Chris Barrie and swimmer Sharron Davies
Gymnast Suzanne Dando, actor Chris Barrie and swimmer Sharron Davies

Northcroft Centre was opened in 1980 by Olympic swimmer David Wilkie, but was then beset with a series of repairs.

The Northcroft Leisure Centre taking shape in 1979
The Northcroft Leisure Centre taking shape in 1979
The newly-opened Leisure Centre in 1980
The newly-opened Leisure Centre in 1980
Canoes in the pool in 1980 – obviously!
Canoes in the pool in 1980 – obviously!
Making use of the new indoor leisure facilities in 1980
Making use of the new indoor leisure facilities in 1980
Olympic swimmer David Wilkie opened the Northcroft in September 1980
Olympic swimmer David Wilkie opened the Northcroft in September 1980
Olympic swimmer David Wilkie with visitors to the Northcroft in 1980
Olympic swimmer David Wilkie with visitors to the Northcroft in 1980

In early 1990 some roof tiles fell into the pool following a storm and the facility had to shut while emergency repairs were made.

A subsequent refurbishment was mired in controversy when it apparently ran more than £200k over budget, but Mr Wilkie returned in October of that year to see the new look facilities and try out the pool.

Tiny Ted provides some entertainment in 1991
Tiny Ted provides some entertainment in 1991

In August 1991 at another open day to promote the facilities, visitors were entertained by Tiny Ted.

But in November 1991 it was decided that yet more improvements needed to be made and £500k was put aside.

In 1993 World Conker champion Charlie Bray visited the Northcroft
In 1993 World Conker champion Charlie Bray visited the Northcroft

In 1993, World Conker champion Charlie Bray visited the Northcroft Centre.



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