Didcot’s new leisure centre was due to open in a few days but some families couldn’t wait to try out the equipment.

Dave Gilder was one of the first to test the weight-training gear, with a little help from his sons, Jonathan and Jamie.

The centre, in the grounds of St Birinus School in Mereland Road, was opened by sports commentator David Vine in 1985.

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It consisted of a large sports hall, small hall, fitness training room, changing rooms and a large viewing room with gallery and bar.

Two special features were a climbing wall outside the main hall and a pole-vaulting training strip inside.

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As a bonus for Didcot schoolchildren, the large hall was available to them during school hours. The building cost £87,000.


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