EXCITEMENT was mounting in Didcot in January 1985 as the town's first purpose-built sports complex edged closer to opening.

Didcot Leisure Centre was still seven months from welcoming the public, but that did not stop builders' foreman, Ken Pottle, from trying out the new climbing wall.

It came after the Mereland Road venue was given bronze-tinted, reflective wall panels as a special feature to brighten up the building.

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Among the key features of the £750,000 development was the eight metre-high ceiling for pole-vaulting practice, the only sports hall in southern England to have this feature.

The leisure centre, next to St Birinus School, is still going strong to this day.