The jewel in the crown of Barrow's sporting facilities was The Park Leisure Centre in Greengate Street, according to its proud manager Craig Foster in 1995.

The born-and-bred Barrovian said: "We provide a quality leisure experience for the people of Barrow."

He had been working at the leisure centre since it opened in 1991 and could list the impressive facilities on offer without a moment's hesitation.

Centrepiece was the modern 25-metre swimming pool, which had replaced facilities at Abbey Baths.

Then there was the giant sports hall, which was big enough for six basketball courts, or a wide variety of other sports.

The centre also boasted a ten-metre climbing wall and all the usual favourites such as five-a-side football, aerobics, basketball, volleyball were played there regularly, but it had also staged karate, roller discos and short tennis.

Craig said if there was a demand for any activity the leisure centre would do its best to facilitate it.

The leisure centre was also regularly improved to meet customer demand. The fitness suite and the outdoor artificial pitch had been upgraded recently.

Children with special needs enjoyed a summer play scheme at the Park Leisure Centre in July and August 1997.

The scheme was organised by Cumbria's Social Services department to provide a helping hand to the children's families and carers.

Twenty two younger children - aged four to 11 - completed their two-week play scheme, which included trips to Morecambe and Brockhole. The group also took part in scavenger hunts and sports days in and around the centre.

Older children - aged 12 to 18 - were due to start their scheme. Local volunteers would join play leaders Hilary White and Peter Kerr.

The scheme had proved so popular it had been expanded in 1997. The county's Social Services committee voted to give the scheme an extra £57,000 and schemes were being provided in Kendal and Penrith, as well as Barrow.