Long-serving Belper leisure centre manager retires after 23 years

A much-loved leisure centre manager has said his final goodbyes as he retired after 23 years at the same Belper facility.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 2:18 pm
Neil Malenoir (pictured right) being congratulated by Adrian Evans, chairman of the board at Belper Leisure Centre, on his retirement

Neil Malenoir, manager of Belper Leisure Centre, was given a send-off by staff at the facility in John O'Gaunts Way on Friday, August 20.

He joined what was then known as Belper Sports Centre in July 1998 at the age of 43, having previously managed Green Bank Leisure Centre in Swadlincote for 10 years.

Twenty-three years later and having seen the centre become a charitable trust, Neil said he is now ‘ready become a cheerleader’ for the new management team as he hands over the reigns to his successor.

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He said: “I am very grateful for the opportunities, both personally and professionally that the Board of Directors have given me in the development of myself as a person and particularly that of the Leisure Centre Manager.

"Since 1998 I have enjoyed working towards the continued improvement of the facility primarily for the wider benefit of the community and Belper School and feel that we have achieved some significant goals.

"I consider myself as being fortunate in having worked with some excellent staff and have made some very good and long-term friends at the centre.”

With approval of the board, Neil was able to study for a Master's in Business Administration between 2000 and 2003 – something he says was a “very significant factor” in his decision to continue as centre manager, “regardless of how difficult that process was at times.”

He has also played a fundamental role in development plans for the centre, including work on the Palms Health and Fitness Suite, the remodelling of the front of the centre, a new bar and cafe area, independent function room, customer toilet facilities and a new access area to the facilities including a lift to the first floor.

Neil will be succeeded by Rachael Vickers who herself commenced employment at the centre 21 years ago and has worked through a variety of roles, becoming Palms Health and Fitness Suite and Services manager in 2010, then deputy manager and now the centre manager.

“This has been a great achievement and is certainly an acknowledgement of her dedication, honesty, skills and loyalty. I do wish Rachael and her team the very best for the future,” Neil added.

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