End of an era

Saturday was a day for a little reminiscing .

The Easter weekend saw the closing of the Ken Marriott Leisure Centre in Rugby, a venue that has been a popular and well-used facility in its time by my goodself, my family and the general Rugby populous.

Ken Marriott Leisure Centre

Having opened The Thornfield Sports Centre back in 1973 (ironically the same year  I was born no less), it has been looking tired in its old age and after various attempts to patch up the cracks, it is making way for a much-needed more modern and updated facility literally a few yards away.

The Ken Marriott is a mere five minute car or bike ride or 10 minute walk from my front door, and it was on Saturday afternoon sitting in the pool viewing gallery having taken my last of – by my reckoning, several hundreds of swims in the old place, and seeing my two scramble across the huge inflatable in the pool that I totted up just how much I have used it for various activities over the years.

I learnt to swim there (probably since my parents took me there as a toddler) and subsequently have been a fairly regular swimmer there over the years – plus been on the ‘Rugby Rapids’ water chute flume ride many a time as a kid.

Ken Marriott Leisure Centre

But also I have played (in no particular order) badminton, squash, table tennis (in my youth), 5-a-side football, indoor cricket; also been gym and weight training, circuit training; and sweated out in the sauna. In fact, I think I have pretty much covered every sport that could possibly be undertaken there over the years, as well as ‘hanging out’ there as school kids.

On from that my two kids have learnt to swim there, going from the distinctly warmer leisure pool to the ‘big pool’ (there was no leisure pool in my younger days – you were in at the deep end so to speak). This undertaking did have its tribulations; being a mad rush from school-to-home-to-pool, and then enduring what at times seemed like the searing heat from the sauna located ‘handily’ close to the pool viewing area!

That aside, the junior Qs have also both been to various birthday parties in the soft play area (including go-karting in the Main Hall), ran around at indoor football, rolled the decks at roller discos, and (in the case of my daughter) also been to street dance sessions.

So the Ken Marriott has my family’s patronage across definitely two, if not three and most likely four generations.

Current plans for the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre are well advanced with it due to open in late July – have a look here at the proposed view of the new place. During the closure period the Ken Marriott Leisure Centre will be demolished to make way for a new car park and to complete the entrance to the new centre.

QE II Diamond Jubilee Sports Centre Rugby

With the old place closing its doors for the last time on Easter Sunday (31st March), there is a certain irony that the old Ken Marriott will be resurrected in another shape or form albeit in the coming months.

My hope is that my kids and future generations and their friends get the same pleasure from sporting and social activity at the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre as I did at the old KMLC.


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