Climbing wall returns at Harrow Leisure Centre after six-month campaign

Damon Clark encourages competition climber Jess Thorne at the opening of the new wall

Damon Clark encourages competition climber Jess Thorne at the opening of the new wall

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A popular climbing wall has been reopened, six months after it was controversially removed from a leisure centre during a refurbishment.

The wall at Harrow Leisure Centre, used by hundreds of able-bodied, disabled and autistic climbers every month, was knocked down in November during major renovation works, with no plans to replace it.

But following protests from parents, owners Harrow Council and leisure centre managers decided to bring back the facility, which was officially re-opened in another part of the centre on Saturday.

Damon Clark, managing director of Amphibia, which operates the climbing wall, said it was great to see people climbing at the Christchurch Avenue centre once more.

He said: “I don’t think the council or the leisure centre realised how much it was used when they decided to remove it, but they have been fantastic in helping us get another one.

“It’s an amazing sport for wider participation and that is exactly what the centre wants to encourage.”

Harrow Times:

The decision to remove the wall sparked outrage among parents, who set about gathering petitions, raising awareness, and pressuring the council to have it replaced.

Mr Clark said: “To be honest, I just let the mums at them (the leisure centre and council). They caused a rampage and were pivotal in raising awareness and pushing the campaign.”

Mr Clark praised the work of Tim Bryant at Harrow Council, Duncan Cogger at the centre, and local Councillor James Bond for their help in reviving the facility.

Dozens of climbers, including some blind and autistic, attended the opening on Saturday to give the new wall a try.

Mr Clark said: “It was a really nice day and it was lovely to see everyone using the wall again.”

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