The first sod was cut for Barrow’s new leisure complex in the south-east corner of Barrow Park in September 1990.

Barrow mayor Cllr Jim Park donned a hard hat and climbed into a mechanical excavator.

With the help of operator Colin Lewis, he got the shovel-grab working.

“This is a gigantic step forward for Barrow and a great day for young people,” said Cllr Park.

He welcomed 60 children from Greengate Primary School, who were doing a 12-month project about the leisure centre.

In October 1991 The Mail got a sneak preview of the new sports and leisure centre, just days before it was handed over to the council by contractors Conder.

The Mail’s reporter was shown around the centre by the man who was due to run it once it opened, contracts manager Phil Cooper.

The newspaper reported that fun lovers would be able to splash out on a trip to the leisure pool, with its wave machine, water cannon and ‘flume’.

Serious swimmers would be able to enjoy themselves in a 25-metre, six lane competition pool alongside.

Patrons would be able to relax in a café area and enjoy the potted plants and music.

Mr Cooper said the multi-purpose sports hall was already taking block bookings and management would be working with Forum 28 to explore its possibilities for arts events.

The hall could accommodate six badminton courts, two volleyball courts, five-a-side football, indoor hockey, netball and basketball, depending upon how it was divided up.

Local lad Shaun Uren, a member of the British disabled swimming team, officially opened the centre on Saturday, October 19, 1991, by cutting a red ribbon.

Crowds gathered for the ceremony watched juggling from Ulverston street entertainers the Fairly Famous Family.

Children from Greengate infants and junior schools were among the first to splash around in the leisure pool.