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George Campbell's family unveil board in his honour

Fifty years after George Campbell formally opened March's first swimming pool, his legacy lives on - and he'd be proud of the major improvements now under way there.

Gerorge Campbell interpretation board

So said his daughter, Anne Gunn, and her brother, David Campbell, last Friday (January 16) when they unveiled a board that traces the history of the centre and highlights their father's contribution.

Mrs Gunn said: "My father was always really passionate about improving the facilities in March and he would be proud of the developments being made.

"Like many other children, I learned to swim here, so the centre has always meant a lot to me - and hopefully it will too for future generations."
Mr Campbell said: ""Having my father's name on the centre is a huge testament to what he did for the town and the support from the local people for his name to remain on the centre shows their appreciation of his work."

He added: "The leisure centre has got even better over the last few decades and it has become a huge asset to the town."

Before the unveiling ceremony Mrs Gunn, Mr Campbell and his wife Susan were given a tour of the centre to see how work was progressing on the centre's £850,000 overhaul.

The improvements includes expansion of the gym, the conversion of the changing rooms into a new, "village-style" changing room, with individual cubicles, and the creation of a new dance studio.

The family were accompanied by Councillor Michelle Tanfield, Fenland District Council's Cabinet member responsible for leisure, and other district and town councillors as well as senior council officers.

Mrs Gunn said: "We were touched that so many of Fenland's officers and March councillors supported the event. We were particularly appreciative of the time and trouble taken to organise the unveiling of the board and are very happy with the way things have turned out after the events of last year.

"The building works are impressive and we're sure they will be well received when they are finished by those who will be using them and working in them.

"The introduction of the 'family' changing room will add to the modern feel of the facilities and you can't help but be impressed by the 'picture window' views of West End Park that those who will be working out in the gym will get - fabulous!"

She added: "My mother was thrilled to hear that it had all worked out so well.  She is now approaching 90 and wasn't able to come along but we showed her some photos and it made her day."

The new board is located in the centre's reception area. It tells how, as the elected representative of March's north-east ward from the late 1950s until 1984, George Campbell "championed numerous initiatives that would benefit the local people and enhance the quality of life in his home town".

"One particular initiative was to provide the town and local area with an outdoor pool complex which was formally opened on 21st July 1965, during Campbell's first year as Mayor," it says.

It adds that in 1984 Fenland District Council embarked on a project to create an indoor pool but Mr Campbell died, aged 59, before it could be completed. "However, in honour of all his work for the town, the newly transformed pool was named 'The George Campbell Pool'. It was officially opened on 3rd October 1984 by Councillor Peter Skoulding, Chairman of Fenland District Council."