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East Bergholt: Sports centre where Paralympian Zoe Newson trains has a record-breaking year

17:00 08 October 2012

Bronze paralympic powerlifter Zoe Newson with Georgia Long, aged 8 and her 6 year old sister Megan Long at Zoe

Bronze paralympic powerlifter Zoe Newson with Georgia Long, aged 8 and her 6 year old sister Megan Long at Zoe's homecoming celebration which was put on at East Bergholt Sports Centre.

Archant

A SPORTS centre is enjoying a record- breaking year thanks to people being inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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East Bergholt Sports Centre has been reaping in the profits so far this financial year, as well as having high attendance figures.

Centre manager Christine Marsh said: “Normally the summer for sport is not too great because the weather is good and people can do things outside rather than come to the sports centre.

“We are just a small centre and we struggle with finances so it’s nice to see that it’s been supported by the community.”

Mrs Marsh said early figures indicate that attendance figures from April to September are 25% up compared to the same period last year.

The sports centre, which celebrated its 15th birthday in July, believes the introduction of roller skating has helped turn profits and attendance around.

She said: “We received a small grant from Babergh District Council which enabled us to buy a few pairs of skates in each size and it’s really taken off.

“In East Bergholt there isn’t much to do on a Friday evening for young people, but we get between 60 and 70 people here skating to music which is great to see.”

The sports centre, which shares facilities with East Bergholt High School, has traditionally been a pay-as-you-go centre but it has now added a membership package to its price lists.

“Although it has been a challenge starting a membership scheme in the summer, September has seen a big increase in the number of people signing up,” said Mrs Marsh. “We’ve been surprised with how well it has taken off considering the tough economic times.

“The price for families at the high school is far cheaper than you could get anywhere else and people are looking for value for money now.”

The centre is home to powerlifting team, Suffolk Spartans, of which Paralympic bronze-medallist Zoe Newson is a member.

Mrs Marsh added: “I think the Olympics and the success of local Paralympian Zoe Newson, who trains at the centre, have galvanised a lot of people.”

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