AS a kid brought up in Fingerpost, Martin Murray looks back fondly on the fun he would have at the swimming baths just a stone’s throw from his front door.
Recalling splashing around in Parr pool with his pals and playing on the slides that would be set up there over summer still brings a smile to his face.
He even remembers how his mischievous side landed him in a spot of bother once or twice for breaching pool rules.
A lot has changed over the past two decades, that little tearaway of the pool has grown up and is now a high-profile boxing champion who recorded another impressive victory at a packed Manchester Evening News Arena on Saturday night (See Star Sport).
But he has still got a soft for the Parr baths and his local roots- and ahead of that fight he he was more than willing to make a visit there to officially unveil the improved sports centre.
About £500,000 has been invested repairing the roof above the teaching pool as well as installing new lighting and ventilation.
There is also a splash pool for youngsters, a modernised spectator area and more car parking spaces.
Martin told the Star: “It’s a lot different from my day, it was just the pools then and there wasn’t a fitness centre like it has now.
“I was always in here as a kid. It was a great place for the community then and it still is now.
“I was brought up a stone’s throw away and I’m happy to come down here and show my support. We used to have a lot of fun in here, particularly when the slides were in in the summer.
“I’m no great swimmer but it is a good exercise and my coach Oliver Harrison has actually brought it into my routine. I may do about 30 lengths a week to help loosen up my muscles.”
Martin joined the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillor Geoff Almond and his wife Jean, at the opening.
Visitors to the pool on Sunday were allowed to swim free of charge as part of the launch.
The council has been actively promoting the revamped pool after embarking on a consultation over Sutton swimming pool, which it is proposing to ‘mothball’ to make savings following huge budgets cuts.