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Watton's sports centre needs new leaders

PUBLISHED: 17:49 18 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:27 08 July 2010

Two leading lights of Watton's privately run sports centre are to step down from their roles after a joint stint of 15 years as chairmen.

John Softley and Paul Adcock, who both run businesses in the town, have been helping to run Watton Sports and Social club since the 1990s, in which time £750,000 of Lottery funding was won to extend and add new facilities.

TWO leading lights of Watton's privately run sports centre are to step down from their roles after a joint stint of 15 years as chairmen.

John Softley and Paul Adcock, who both run businesses in the town, have been helping to run Watton Sports and Social club since the 1990s, in which time £750,000 of Lottery funding was won to extend and add new facilities.

Mr Adcock, of Adcock and Sons electrical shop, was chairman for four years and then Mr Softley has been in the role for the past 11 years.

Mr Softley said: “Both of us have been very busy the last couple of years and we feel it is time to stand aside and let people perhaps with different ideas step in.

“The highlight has been getting the three quarters of a million pounds funding from the lottery fund to put up the Astroturf and extension to the sports centre. That will now be with us forever.

“Paul and I were lucky to have the base from which to start and the lottery grant. We took it on and ran with it but it has taken years of hard work by many groups to put it together.”

The centre is self-funded and thought to be the only club of its type in the area.

It has senior and junior football teams, hockey, indoor and outdoor bowls, snooker, pool, tennis, badminton, squash, yoga, kick-boxing, five-a-side football and a bar.

Mt Softy said he and Mr Adcock would stay on the committee if re-elected.

New chairman and vice-chairman are due to be picked on October 28 after the annual general meeting.

The centre was built in four stages between 1973 and 1984 after a group of local clubs got together to build a sports centre.

It was officially opened by Sir Edmund Bacon, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk in 1974, and then had a main games hall, bar area, committee rooms, changing rooms and a car park.

Two squash courts and a meeting room were then opened by the chairman of the National Playing Fields Association in 1976.

In 1983 facilities for five-a-side football were created, alongside cricket nets, badminton and basketball facilities.

In 1999 a substantial lottery grant enabled the laying of astroturf and another extension.

More recently the club has installed outdoor table tennis tables.

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