BARROVIANS gave their seal of approval to the facilities on offer at the town's revamped arts and leisure centre, Forum 28, during the weekend of April 28 in 1990.

While the premises did not immediately open for business at the time it was scheduled to open to the public in May that year.

Thousands of people took the opportunity to tour the new centre for a preview during that weekend.

The event was joined by Mayor Cllr Steve Smart who symbolically wedded the old Civic Hall with the new Forum 28 in a 'ceremony' carried out at the flower bedecked entrance.

The community hope that the marriage between the Civic Hall and the new Forum 28 centre would be a long and happy one.

The opening also saw a musical fanfare from VSEL band and fireworks on the rooftop car park.

Mayoress Mrs Jean Smart cut the tape to officially open the Forum 28 building, followed by roaring cheers and applause from those in attendance.

The 'mock' wedding ceremony came as a climax to a grand parade and spectacular opening ceremony organised by Welfare State International.

A band led by Peter Moser and Gary Bridgens headed the parade from Ramaden Square which included a 'ship' with bridegroom, Old Man, Civic Halls, played by Michael Tees, 20, and the Bride the new Forum 28, played by 18-year-old Pippa Casey, aboard.

Following the opening ceremony crowds flocked to the tour the complex and in the first hour alone more than 1000 people entered through the doors to the building.

Most were very impressed with what they saw.

Mrs Sadie Thomson of Rawlinson Street said: "It looks a great improvement on the old Civic Hall.

"I do like the new facilities and am looking forward to attending events there in the future."

Ten-year-old Michaela Heywood said: "It's brilliant and I like it very much."

Local man Frank Chapman said: "I think this new building is very good, especially the new conference suite."

The new building would host various plays, shows and special events for years to come.