Hundreds of people turned out to attend the opening of Fraserburgh’s new Swimming Pool and Sports Centre at the weekend.
The centre, which opened two months ahead of schedule, offered free entry to visitors on the day of the ‘soft launch’.
Members of the public as well as councillors and council officials were present to see the huge range of sporting and leisure activities on offer. As well as the swimming pool - or swimming pools, to be precise - the sports hall was open for visitors to have a go at table tennis and badminton, amongst other activities. The public also saw inside the fitness suite, the dance hall, and multi-purpose IT and conference rooms.
Adjacent to the state-of-the-art swimming pool was the changing village, which included two saunas and a steam room.
In total, there were six individuals who were chosen to be the first swimmers in the new pool. They were Larry Barber, Victor Urquhart, Marie Cheyne, Ryan Watt, Taylor Maitland and Keiron Parry. Morgyn Lyn Brown, 11, was the first person to use the flume. Morgyn won a competition to name the flume, which is called ‘Ramsay Rapids’.
To the disappointment of many, the highly-anticipated swimming flume was closed to the public due to problems with the flume pump. As such, Morgan was the only person to use the flume on the opening day.
The Fraserburgh Herald spoke to some of the first six swimmers before they dived in. Ryan Watt, 39, commented: “It’s a big boost for the town. It’s great to see something opening rather than closing, especially a facility like this.
“It’s not about the first six people, it’s about the people who have raised funds - without them, this would never have happened.”
Fellow swimmer Larry Barber, 68, said: “It’s the dream of FISSH come true. They kept the community well-informed.
“I hope the people of Fraserburgh will use this great facility.”
Amongst the first swimmers were two St Andrews School pupils. Eleven-year-old Kieron Parry said: “I couldn’t believe I got picked, it’s a great honour. I think I’ll use the pool a lot.”
Taylor Maitland, also 11, added: “For me it’s a life-changing experience. I’ve never been chosen to do anything like this before.”
As well as the hundreds of members of the public who visited the swimming pool and sports centre on its opening day, the facility also welcomed a number of councillors and council officials.
Commenting, Vice-chair of the Banff & Buchan Area Committee, Fraserburgh SNP councillor Brian Topping, said: “This facility is something that the people of Fraserburgh, and the wider Banff and Buchan area, can be proud of.
“Working in partnership with other leisure and community facilities in Fraserburgh, the new centre will mean a wide choice of activities for local people.”
Fellow Fraserburgh SNP councillor Charles Buchan added: “This is great news for Fraserburgh and district. This is the best facility north of Stirling!
“This will give us a significant further attraction to the town. We and the Community have worked hard, and waited a long time, to get the new Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre to the town, and the people of Fraserburgh deserve Aberdeenshire’s newest and best sports facility.”
SNP councillor for neighbouring Troup ward, Hamish Partridge commented: “It is great to see the Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre up and running and open to the local people who helped to make this project possible.
“It is vital that we maximise the opportunities for people to become involved in sport and physical activity, and this investment puts Fraserburgh on that map. This facility is something everyone can be proud of, bringing visitors to Fraserburgh from near and far to use the state of the art equipment within the complex, this centre has something for everyone enjoy and that is a vital key to its success.”
Maria Walker, Director of Education, Learning and Leisure, commented: “I think it’s fantastic. Importantly, different members of the family can enjoy the facility at the same time.
“This is the way we see the future - multi-purpose facilities. This is a big commitment that the Council has made. It’s really important we provide the best possible building and the best possible service.”
Chairperson of FISSH, Doreen Mair, commented: “I think the facility is fantastic. It’s difficult to believe the day is actually here.
“The Council have done a great job and the community have also done a great job. The community should be really proud of themselves and I hope they enjoy it forever.”
President of the Fraserburgh Rotary, Ann Bell, said: “This is a marvellous new facility. It’ll be great all year round and will attract tourists and locals alike.
“This is a great community effort and builds on what we already have, for example, the Lighthouse Museum and the beach.
“Congratulations as well to the FISSH team and the councillors who were involved in ensuring this facility went ahead.”