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Dolphin Centre milestone marked in style
3:33pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in News
A NORTH-EAST leisure centre marked its 30th birthday with a range of festivities including a disco pool party, a stilt walker and a charity challenge.
The Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, opened on November 2, 1982.
As part of the celebrations today (Friday, Nov 2), the town’s mayor, Paul Baldwin, took part in a cycling challenge to raise funds for St Teresa’s Hospice, with Mike Crawshaw, Darlington Borough council’s head of leisure.
The 30-hour challenge, which has been running all week, has seen participants cycle or row in ten to 60 minute slots and has raised £300 for the hospice.
Margaret Grey, 66, who is a volunteer for the hospice, said: “It was lovely to share the birthday celebrations with the Dolphin Centre, and it was a great day for all.”
Mr Crawshaw said: “It was a fantastic atmosphere and I’m so pleased with how it went.
“We had games and giveaways, a balloon entertainer, Fin the Dolphin was out, as was Sam the Stopwatch – the list goes on.
“People are becoming more and more aware of the health benefits that sport gives, and we offer such a range of activities that there is something for everyone.”
During the first hour of the day, the soft-play area had 96 children through the doors, which is three times the amount it would get on a usual day.
Natalie Welsh, 30, who works in the soft-play area, said: “There was food, games, music, face painting and challenges for the children to take part in, with one challenge involving us hiding a ‘disco duck’ somewhere in the structure of the soft play and getting them to go and find it.”
A multi-million revamp of the centre’s facilities was unveiled in 2007.
Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for leisure, said the centre had become a way of life in Darlington.
He said: "For the vast majority of people, the Dolphin Centre is a very special place for many reasons - whether it be taking the children there to learn to swim, meeting friends or getting involved in the many activities and events held there.”
While the Dolphin centre is widely viewed as a hub of the community in Darlington, it remains to be seen what the future holds for it, with local authorities expected to be forced to make further spending cuts in the future.