With 2015 drawing to close, now would be as good a time as ever to look back and reflect on what a busy year it has been for the club. We've seen changes to staff, building works, pool closures and a multitude of other occurrences throughout the year that have all become a part of The Hollies' story.
As 2015 began, Nick informed a select few of us that he was planning on leaving the Hollies and embarking on a round-the-world trip for the large majority of the year. As I had already planned a six-week trip of my own from January to March he decided to stay until I returned so that there was an easy transition of managers.
Nicole joined us in January as 'manager in training' under the ruse that she would be covering my shifts whilst I was away, when in fact this was the perfect opportunity for her to learn on the job and train with Nick to take over the role with me upon his departure.
In the run up to Nick leaving, The Hollies & The HRA Management Company spent the early part of 2015 planning and preparing for extensive remedial building works to be undertaken in the late spring/early summer.
This involved the pool being closed for a total of 71 days whilst the old pool plant, boilers, and hot water system were ripped out, replaced and improved. Urgent structural work and removal of asbestos was also undertaken in the area underneath the poolside floor (known as the undercroft). You can read more about the specifics of this work in previous updates here on the website.
Admittedly, 71 days is no short amount of time and we are very grateful for the patience and support from members and customers whilst the pool was closed. It was a relief when we were given the all clear to re-open the pool on Wednesday the 17th of June.
July saw our third annual summer BBQ take place and I was pleased to see that for a third year in a row it was a tremendous success with more people attending than ever before! The BBQ is a personal favourite event of mine and it's very humbling to see everyone becoming so supportive over the years!
The summer quickly transitioned into September, and an important date for the club drew nearer. On September 15th it was our 25th birthday, with the club having officially re-opened on that day in 1990 by Olympic swimmer David Wilkie (We have since found the photo from the day and mounted it on the wall in reception).
Also in September we hosted the final 'Hollies Kids Reunion' and it's with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to this annual day of history and reminiscing. The day was the busiest we have ever seen with people visiting from all over the world (Even as far as Australia) to meet old friends of the Children's Home - a special thanks to Paul and Barbara for their efforts over the years!
As the nights drew in and we transitioned from autumn to the winter months, we undertook some smaller, less important club upgrades - including a new 'look' for the sauna, courtesy of some much needed wood stain!
The final part of building work for the year took part in December, when we had new gas pipes fitted for the overhead gym heaters. The old pipework that ran through the undercroft was starting to show it's age and was no longer a viable option. New pipes were fitted around the wall on poolside and through to the gym area similar to the new hot water pipes (mentioned in 'Update 4'). The heaters were signed off as working just in time for our annual members' Christmas Party - another successful & busy event!
2015 has been a busy year for The Hollies, and we've managed to get a lot done. I am very much looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for us! Our resident swimming teachers; Liz & Tom, are expecting their second child in January & i'd like to take the opportunity to congratulate/wish them good luck with their swim school's expansion to Farrington's School next year. (And well done for moving house just before Christmas!)
We have already started planning for the next stage of building works and upgrades at the club. Currently the target for 2016 consists of the following:
- Replace the pool's de-humidifier (the last piece in the plant room puzzle)
- Redecorate/rebuild the changing room areas to a much better standard/design
- Replace the spa (To the delight of many of you i'm sure)
A couple of other things that I have on my wishlist (We'll see how we get on with these) include:
- Updating the gym with newer/more equipment - possibly a roof, air-conditioning & a soft floor.
- Updating the now dated-looking reception area to make it more welcoming & streamline the signing in/out process for everyone
- A totally new sauna/steam room experience
- More social events throughout the year - Water volleyball anyone?
I'd also like to take the opportunity for one last thank you to everyone who frequents the club and for giving us the opportunity to work in such a friendly & welcoming environment. We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and have a fantastic new year!
See you in the gym in January!