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Steve's been a good sport
A MAN who has dedicated more than two decades to sporting life in Basingstoke has announced he will stand down from his key post later this year.
Steve Combes, chief executive of Basingstoke and District Sports Trust, will leave the charity after 25 years in the autumn, having overseen a multi-million-pound overhaul of Basingstoke Sports Centre, in the town centre.
Steve has achieved much during his time at the helm, and he notably steered the facility into its new home at Festival Place shopping centre in 2002.
More recently, he played an integral role in securing funding for further improvements to the centre, which have been enjoyed by thousands of users each month.
He has also been hailed for doing an “excellent job” in maintaining membership during the economic downturn.
Martyn Frost, chairman of the board of trustees, said: “Steve has been here 25 years and in that time he has seen us through a lot of changes and through some difficult times as well, not least the last couple of years when most leisure facilities have seen a down turn in use.
“Whenever you hear from so-called experts, they say leisure membership is the first thing to go in times of recession so for us to still be on a pretty good footing now is largely down to him.”
Steve, 59, joined the Sports Centre in 1986 from Andover Leisure Centre, where he was deputy manager.
He said: “There has been a lot of change over the last 25 years.
“I wanted to give the trust plenty of time to find a replacement so, while I am nearing the end of the road, there is still some way to go.
“It is all well and good changing the facilities – and raising and getting the money for that has been a challenge – but the key to delivering that end-product is really the staff, who have been fantastic throughout.”
Martyn Frost added: “Steve has got to be congratulated for overseeing the £2.4million refurbishment.
“It is a testament to his hard work. Steve has done an excellent job and made sure we have a sports centre we can be proud of, and a successful one as well.”