A lung transplant man who swam in the British and European Transplant Games has cancelled his membership of Cascades Leisure Centre, saying he is “totally devastated” at a change in its hours.
Terry Woods (54) is one of a number of regular users who have been left angry and puzzled at Craigavon’s Borough Council decision, which it says has been taken for “child protection reasons”.
Another member, Brian McStea, turned up at Cascades after his regular run on Tuesday, ready to use the facilities before work, but was “turned away” because they were closed.
Under the new times, the pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room are not open to the public when the schools are using the pool.
Members of the public this week accused the council of further downgrading services, with the centre’s cafe having closed in August.
Mr Woods, who had a single lung transplant 15 years ago and now has only 20-25 per cent function in it, has been a member for 15 years, paying £30 a month to use the centre facilities.
He said, “Whoever took this decision hadn’t even the decency to notify members by letter or face-to-face meeting. It takes me a long time to get changed and in and out of the pool and the new times don’t suit me or a lot of other people I have been talking to. I am gutted.”
The grandfather, who has written to his local councillors, said swimming is the only type of exercise he can do and doctors believe it is one of the reasons why his transplant has lasted so long.
He added, “It’s not just the exercise. It gets me out of the house and gives me the chance to meet other people.”
Brian McStea, who has been a member for 20 years, described the decision as “ill-thought through”. He said, “It is unbelievable that some other way could not have been found to accommodate school swimming. I have written to the council suggesting some.
“The car park at Cascades was empty on Tuesday morning. This will be a big loss to all sorts of people, including those who work shifts and mums with young children who could have called in after leaving older kids to school. There’s no way people can be in and out of the pool by 9.15am.
“It seems harsh to reduce our use by 20 hours per week, with no price reduction.”
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