April 16, 2010

UK: Swimmer John splashes out on his 90th birthday

. HEXHAM, Northumberland / Hexham Courant / News At A Glance / April 16, 2010 By David Coulter PENSIONER John Dixon proved that you’re never too old to stay fit and healthy. As part of his 90th birthday celebrations, the sprightly swimmer officially declared the outdoor pools open at Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre on Saturday. In addition to cutting the ribbon to mark the reopening, Mr Dixon was made an honorary member at the pools, enabling him to use the facilities free of charge. Staff also presented him with a framed photograph of the pools dating back to when he first started using them. Birthday honour: John Dixon, of Haltwhistle, officially opened the outdoor pools at Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre. He is pictured with a framed photograph of the pool, which leisure centre staff presented to him for his 90th birthday. He has been swimming there since 1976, just one year after its opening, and has seen the pools develop before his very eyes. He said: “I can say I was flabbergasted and really taken by surprise to be asked to open the pools. “When I first came here, many of the jobs were done by volunteers and that is how I got interested in it really. “Most of my grandchildren have learned to swim here so I have many happy memories. “I swim at the pools virtually every day and I shall continue to swim there throughout the season.” Mr Dixon, who celebrated his 90th birthday on April 6, continued: “I had a very good party with my family and the celebrations at the pool topped it all off.” After the grand reopening, more than 1,000 swimmers made big waves as they enjoyed the first weekend of the season. The centre sold many season tickets, and staff were hopeful of a positive summer. Chairman Alan Sharp said: “We have had a very busy weekend and the weather has been good to us. “I just hope this year that the weather is going to be kind to us because we could do with it after three wet seasons!” [rc] David Coulter E-Mail: dcoulter@cngroup.co.uk Source: Hexhamd Courant