New plans for Spenborough Sports Complex

Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex is set to benefit from plans for a new extension, it has been revealed.

The new-build leisure centre is set to replace the existing Sports Centre facilities at Whitcliffe Mount, Cleckheaton, which will be closing towards the end of 2016.

Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex how it currently looks. Image courtesy of the Spenborough Guardian.

Spenborough Pool and Fitness Complex how it currently looks. Image courtesy of The Spenborough Guardian.

With Whitcliffe Mount School being knocked down, this means the sports centre at Whitcliffe must close as both buildings are situated next to each other, sharing plumbing and electricity.

Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre. Image courtesy of The Spenborough Guardian.

Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre to be knocked down. Image courtesy of The Spenborough Guardian.

The controversial decision to close the Whitcliffe Mount site was made just before Christmas last year, and local residents were concerned the closure would deprive over 50,000 people in the area of access to a local sports centre.

With the support of Sport England, it is hoped the modular build units for studio and fitness will be in place before the closure of Whitcliffe Mount.

The current Spenborough swimming pool. Image courtesy of Kirklees Active Leisure.

The current Spenborough swimming pool.
Image courtesy of Kirklees Active Leisure.

Jo Cox, prospective parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen, feels strongly against the closure of the Whitcliffe centre.

She helped convene two meetings at the centre to allow Cleckheaton residents and users to express their concerns and understand the decisions being taken.

“Many residents and users have grown up using the centre and remain reliant on these facilities not just for their physical and mental health but for a social life.

“At the meetings we heard very moving testimonies for people whom sport at the centre has been a lifeline, and these people deserved the right to express their views before a final decision was taken.”

The Labour candidate recognised that the decision had been forced on the council, and appreciated their efforts to try invest in sports provisions across the Spen Valley.

“The council have my full support in their efforts to find the resources needed to invest in the Spenborough pool – the pool I learnt to swim in and which so many schools, families and residents rely on.

“Even in the constrained financial times forced upon Kirklees Council by central Government we must protect this much loved facility for future generations.”

Looking at what is provided in various other establishments, the council are set to view the provision as a whole, analysing ways in which they can cover what the new centre does not.

Dewsbury and Batley Christmas light switch-ons 2014

Last night saw the town of Dewsbury celebrate the start of the festive season in style at the Christmas lights switch-on.

Pulse Radio in preparation to host the switch-on.

Pulse Radio in preparation to host the switch-on.

Emmerdale star Adam Thomas, who plays Adam Barton in the ITV soap, flicked the switch to light up the town and officially start the countdown to Christmas.

Pulse Radio’s Paul Foster joined the actor live on stage, and helped spread the festive cheer in the crowd throughout the evening.

The crowd were entertained with on stage performances from the Pulse Dance Crew, Powerhooping from the HD Hoopers, and local act Jade Helliwell showcased her musical talents.

“The experience was great, and I was very humble to be asked to perform at the event,” Helliwell said.

“The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd were brilliant and they sang along regardless of the cold weather,” she added.

Surrounding the stage were plenty of family activities, thoroughly enjoyed by all, including:

  • A giant snow globe
  • Fairground rides
  • Festive donkey rides
  • Face painting
  • A fire sculpture by pa-BOOM
  • And of course, it would not be Christmas without Santa’s Grotto

A tweet from Jade before her performance yesterday:

Dewsbury Ram mascot Roger Ram and Huddersfield Town mascot Terry the Terrier were also present at the event, posing for pictures and interacting with the local crowd.

Batley Christmas lights switch-on 22 November

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For Batley, the countdown to Christmas begins this Saturday with the Christmas light switch-on.

Once again, Pulse Radio’s Paul Foster will be on stage, accompanied by a number of special guests to press that all-important switch-on button to illuminate the town.

The fun and entertainment will begin for youngsters in the market place at 1pm, with fairground rides, face painting, festive donkey rides, and a giant snow globe. 

There will be fun for all the family from 2pm with music, Christmas games, live performances from the Pulse Radio roadshow, and as they did in Dewsbury on Wednesday, pa-BOOM will be showcasing their stunning fire sculpture.

Later in the evening, another headline performance from Jade Helliwell at 5:30pm will lead to the eagerly anticipated lights switch on at 6pm, and will finish with a spectacular firework finale.

“I’m grateful to be asked to attend the Batley event, especially as I have been asked to assist with the switch-on,” Helliwell said.

“I’m from Batley, so to be representing my home town in a community event feels amazing, and it is always a privilege and honour to perform here.

“It is brilliant that my work is being recognised and becoming more and more popular with people around the area.”

Towards the close of the event, the Kirklees Mayor Cllr, Ken Smith, the Mayoress Cllr Christine Smith, MP Mike Wood, Revd Dr Martin Naylor and Santa Clause will all be on stage for the switch on.

Walmsley goes from amateur rugby to Grand Final winner in less than three years

Walking out in front of a sold out Old Trafford for the biggest game in the rugby league season is what every amateur player dreams of.

That dream became reality for Dewsbury’s Alex Walmsley, after he helped St Helens win the Super League Grand Final, by beating rivals Wigan Warriors 14-6 back in October.

Alex Walmsley celebrating with the Grand Final Trophy

Alex Walmsley celebrating with the Grand Final Trophy

This is a remarkable achievement when you consider less than three years ago, the 24-year-old was playing with local amateurs Dewsbury Celtic.

“It’s been a turbulent three years, it’s been unbelievable and I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Walmsley.

“I’ve been to numerous Grand Finals watching as a kid, and to walk out in front of 70,000 fans on the biggest stage of all was a surreal experience, and is the pinnacle point in my career so far.”

Just two and a half years ago Walmsley was playing for Dewsbury Celtic in the local cup against Birstall Victoria.

“Back then if anybody would have said to me that in less than three years time I would be lifting the biggest trophy in club rugby league I would have said they were mad,” he said.

“It’s what you dream of doing as a kid and it’s what I dreamed of doing when I was 20-years-old playing for Dewsbury Celtic.

“With a bit of luck, some great coaching, and the support of my family and friends, I was lucky enough to go on and achieve this.

“I have had to make sacrifices, but that comes with it, and when you lift up that trophy it makes it all seem so easy and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

The young prop was handed a trial at Batley Bulldogs by coach John Kear after seeing Walmsley impress during games for his University side in Leeds.

“I played my first league game against Leigh Centurions after I was lucky enough to get a spot on the bench, I came on and played well and from then on I played every single week, it was brilliant.”

He was then offered a two-year deal by the Bulldogs, and after a successful first season was selected in the Championship team of the year, received Batley’s player of the year, and the Championship’s young player of the year award.

“For me, at the time, playing for Batley was the pinnacle in my career, it’s a great club, is very family orientated and is full of great people.”

After proving to be a revelation at Batley, St Helens were interested in signing the young star, and he signed a three-year deal with the Super League side.

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Images courtesy of Alex Walmsley.

He said: “As soon as I came to St Helens and looked at the place, with all the history behind the club, I thought this is where I want to be, and when I signed it was a massive honour.

“I remember sitting in the changing rooms with all the St Helens stars, and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to play with them.

“To be able to go on a pitch and call these players my teammates, it’s what dreams are made of and it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Due to numerous injuries in the St Helens side, Walmsley got his chance, and he certainly took his opportunity by making a serious impression throughout the Super League in his first few games.

He admitted that playing as many games as he did took him by surprise, and that playing in a Grand Final surpassed any expectations, but the humble 24-year-old is now an established squad member at the Saints, and is determined to keep working hard in what for him, will hopefully be another successful season.

Walmsley gave a lot of credit to his former coach at Dewsbury Celtic, Paul Heaton, and acknowledged how hard he worked with him during his time at Celtic.

“He definitely had a big influence on the player I am today and he really stuck at me in those early days and got me back loving the game.

“I will always go back and watch the boys play at Celtic, you can never forget your roots and I’m proud of where I’ve come from.”

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