'Proud as punch' - Sports centre delighted with renovations

Manager Sally McGrath in the newly decorated Lancaster Room, the main function and dining room at Th

Manager Sally McGrath in the newly decorated Lancaster Room, the main function and dining room at The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The manager of a market town’s sports centre is ‘proud as punch’ of its volunteers who helped to renovate the site ahead of reopening.

The Gallow sports centre in Fakenham reopened last Monday as lockdown restrictions eased. They have welcomed back golfers, tennis players and punters coming for a drink outside as they look to put the pandemic behind them.

Sally McGrath, manager of the centre is delighted with how they are looking.

Manager Sally McGrath and secretary, Robert Smith, in the newly decorated Lancaster Room, the main f

Manager Sally McGrath and secretary, Robert Smith, in the newly decorated Lancaster Room, the main function and dining room at The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“ I am absolutely proud as punch for what we've managed to do,” she said.

“Covid could be such a negative thing, but we've turned it into something very positive, which has been lovely.”


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Mrs McGrath said volunteers had been back at the centre as soon as the restrictions eased so they could paint and decorate ahead of welcoming people back inside on May 17.

Robert Smith, secretary, in the newly revamped Sports Bar at The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Asso

Robert Smith, secretary, in the newly revamped Sports Bar at The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The old fashioned sports bar area has been turned into a multifunctional area and the area overlooking the bowls rink revamped.

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They have also redone their small dining room and the big Lancaster room has been decorated and brought up to date as a restaurant/function suite.

“We invited a couple of people in to have a quick look and they've all been amazed that we've managed to achieve so much,” she said.

Marleen Rogers, chair of the management committee

Marleen Rogers, chair of the management committee. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Marleen Rogers, chair of the management committee said there was an even bigger reaction online.

“People had seen the pictures on our newsletter, and on Facebook and have been so pleased with it. They actually sent in donations to help pay for paint.”

They said business since reopening has been ‘hit and miss,' with the cold evenings playing their part. However, groups of golfers were enjoying the April sunshine this afternoon after a round.

The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association, which has been newly decorated inside. Picture: DENI

The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association, which has been newly decorated inside. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“l am so much more positive now than I was in July last year," she added.

"It was literally let's go for it and see what happens. I think there was much more in the way of cautious people at that point.

The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association, which has been newly decorated inside. Picture: DENI

The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association, which has been newly decorated inside. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“When we opened in July last year, everybody was still being very cautious, and we were still worried about the second wave."

“I think now, people are being so much more positive, and are feeling a little bit more comfortable about coming out, especially starting off this way.

“But now, I think we're feeling better.”

The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association, which has been newly decorated inside. Picture: DENI

The Gallow, Fakenham Sports Centre Association, which has been newly decorated inside. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


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