A fond farewell for Basingstoke Sports Centre boss who retired after 27 years (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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A fond farewell for Basingstoke Sports Centre boss who retired after 27 years
HE HAS been at the heart of the Sports Centre in Basingstoke for 27 years – and as he bowed out of his role as chief executive, Steve Combes was described by colleagues as a “legend”.
At his retirement presentation, the 60-year-old was praised for his dedication and commitment to the centre over nearly three decades.
Staff, centre trustees, and customers joined Steve’s family and friends at the party, at which he was presented, among other things, with a lifetime membership of the centre and was made vice-president of the Basingstoke and Deane Sports Trust, meaning he will always be involved with the centre.
Trust chairman Martyn Frost told Steve: “We have been through an awful lot over the years. You have steered us through those years, and we have come through it and are now a very successful sports centre in the region, not just Basingstoke.”
He added: “We have seen our way through thanks to your expertise and dedication to the job and for that we are grateful. You leave the Sports Centre in a very good position.”
Basingstoke and Deane deputy mayor and borough councillor Dan Putty, who is also one of the trustees, also paid tribute to Steve. He said: “On behalf of the people of Basingstoke and Deane, I would like to pay tribute to you for your professionalism and hard work, and for making the Sports Centre the greatest place for people to come and exercise.”
Steve recalled many great memories of his time at the Sports Centre, including the numerous awards it has received over the years.
He told the audience how the Say No and Phone (SNAP) campaign ran for five years, between 1999 and 2004, which saw young people attend a disco once a month, and which also raised awareness of the danger of drugs. There was also a successful campaign to save the pools at the centre, which were under threat of closure at one point.
Steve said his retirement signalled “the start of a new era” for the Sports Centre, as he handed over the keys to his replacement, 40-year-old James Starbuck.
Thanking his staff for their support, and wishing his successor good luck, Steve said: “We have achieved some amazing results together.”
Father-of-two Steve is beginning his retirement by going travelling for six months with his wife Pauline to various countries including Brazil, Peru and Australia.