Fareham Leisure Centre crowned the best in the country

PICK OF THE BUNCH From left, customer services manager Gary Paish, catering manager Tracy Dunning, sales manager Nigel Ashton, fitness manager Luke Sweeney, Cllr Connie Hockley, Cllr Se�n Woodward, centre manager Ian Cook, and finance manager Julie Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing (131908-889)
PICK OF THE BUNCH From left, customer services manager Gary Paish, catering manager Tracy Dunning, sales manager Nigel Ashton, fitness manager Luke Sweeney, Cllr Connie Hockley, Cllr Se�n Woodward, centre manager Ian Cook, and finance manager Julie Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing (131908-889)
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FAREHAM Leisure Centre has won national recognition after it was crowned the best in the UK at an industry awards night.

It was one of 15 short-listed for Leisure Centre of the Year and beat 3,000 others to take the top spot.

Around 800 people attended the awards ceremony, named the Ball of Fire, at The International Centre in Telford.

Fitness manager Luke Sweeney, from Fareham Leisure Centre, said: ‘The awards were great. It was so nice.

‘When they read out the nominations my heart started beating hard.

‘Our category had 15 others in it so we had to sit and watch their videos and we got to see how good they were.

‘When they announced us as the winners, I didn’t know what to do, whether to jump around or what.

‘I just shouted “yes” and punched my fist in the air.’

Fareham Leisure Centre gets 700,000 visits per year, and around 10,000 people take part in exercise classes at the centre every month.

Manager Ian Cook said that the award was down to the hard work and dedication of his team.

Ian said: ‘I and the centre are absolutely ecstatic to have won the award again, which we won in 2009.

‘We’re proud to have won an award on behalf of our customers and we look forward to retaining it at the end of the year.’

The judges commented on the staff’s passion and their commitment to be ‘the best’.

They also noted the leisure centre’s community focus and the number of charity and social events held.

The centre has been run by Everyone Active in partnership with Fareham Borough Council since May 2005.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward said: ‘It’s fantastic news and a fantastic partnership.’

Executive member for leisure Cllr Connie Hockley said: ‘They’re a wonderful team and very people focused.’

David Stalker, CEO of UKactive said: ‘The standard was staggeringly high and every winner truly earned their award.’

He added: ‘The sector is getting better and better and I hope this year’s winners inspire others to keep on improving.’

The UKactive and Matrix Flame Awards 2013 were held on Wednesday.

UKactive is a not-for-profit body comprised of members from across the active lifestyle sector.