A SPORTS centre for the disabled which faced closure because of an unpaid £48,000 photocopying bill has been saved.

Oxsrad, the Oxford and District Sports and Recreation Association for the Disabled, has provided sports facilities for a wide range of disabled groups for more than 20 years at its Marston base.

But for the past three years the specialist centre, opened by Princess Diana, has lived with the threat of closure, because of a £48,000 debt over a photocopier contract.

Now, after a huge fundraising effort and months of negotiations, the bill has been settled.

Centre manager Paul Saxton said: “This is massive. We have had so many sleepless nights trying to sort this out.

“It is all put to bed and we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

The bill, relating to a maintenance contract, pre-dated Mr Saxton’s time as manager and the organisation has always accepted it owed the money.

Mr Saxton said the five-year contract for two photocopiers was signed with Essex-based NCS Ltd in 2007 by a previous manager.

The contract is managed by BNP Paribas Lease Group (Rentals) Limited.

BNP Paribas took the matter to court in 2010 and Oxsrad was served with a county court judgement ordering it to pay £48,851.

But the two parties have now settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

The centre, at Court Place Farm in Marsh Lane, provides sports and recreation facilities for both able-bodied people and those with a wide range of disabilities.

It includes a sports hall, specialist gym equipment, sensory room, spa bath and treatment room.

Activities provided by the centre’s seven staff include archery, trampolining and an integrated youth club.

The Oxford Mail highlighted Oxsrad’s financial predicament in August 2010 and since then supporters have rallied to the organisation’s aid.

Mr Saxton thanked the fundraisers, staff and centre users who raised money to help pay off the debt.

“One person gave us some cash and other people helped out through fundraising – it has all helped,” he said.

Mr Saxton said the mention of photocopiers still brought him out in a sweat.

He added: “People do phone up and say can we talk to the person who deals with your photocopying requirements and I just cringe.”

The centre is home to the Headington Road Runners, who helped raise money.

Most recently, five members netted more than £3,000 running the London Marathon.

Adrienne Hopkins, chairman of Headington Road Runners, said: “It is a big relief for everyone involved that it has been resolved and Oxsrad can move forward.

“We just wouldn’t get the same facility anywhere else.”

BNP Paribas refused to comment.