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20 Years on – A new era dawns

Bolton Middlebrook Leisure Trust have appointed Neil Hutchinson as the new Managing Director of Bolton Arena replacing Paul Bartle who is retiring after 18 years at the helm.

Neil brings a wealth of experience to Bolton Arena with 30 years of leisure industry experience in Lancashire which will no doubt benefit the local community and the trusts strategic objectives.

Outgoing Managing Director Paul Bartle has enjoyed a fabulous career at Bolton Arena, here's what Paul had to say about some of his favourite memories.

Bolton Arena reaches its 20th Birthday in 2021, having been involved for 18 years, 15 of them as its Managing Director I am amazingly proud of what has been achieved in that time. 

There are so many memorable achievements it is difficult to highlight some over others. It would be easy to point to the big headline events, from hosting the badminton for the Manchester Commonwealth Games, through Davis Cup Tennis, Amir Khans first 4 professional fights, watching a raw 14-year-old Andy Murray compete in Europe’s top teen tennis tournament, the list goes on. 

For me though the biggest achievement has been turning a legacy Commonwealth Games sports venue into a true community-based facility used by huge numbers of the Bolton family and beyond. Run by a not-for-profit Charitable Trust, supported by extremely dedicated volunteer Trustees who freely give their valuable time and expertise.  

Just a few of the many many things that stick in my mind: - 

  • An 8-year-old picking up a tennis racket for the first time who is now a professional coach with us and is introducing more youngsters to the game. 
  • A gentleman joining our gym, losing 8 stone and running a marathon raising thousands for local charities on the way. 
  • 2 youngsters learning to ride on our Hot Wheels program and becoming professional cyclists. 
  • A funded program that introduced truly inactive people to the huge physical and mental benefits of an active lifestyle – many of whom still visit us on a regular basis. 
  • And above all during my time over 15 million visits to the facility from all walks of life in terms of age, background and ability.  

All this would not have been remotely possible without a fantastic team of dedicated, passionate and committed colleagues, I am immensely pleased that many of them have been on the journey with me throughout and still remain to continue the good work. 

The last 14 months have been traumatic for our industry, we have navigated our way through some extremely difficult times, hopefully we are now on the path back to normality, I will be stepping down from my role at the end of July and I am pleased to be able to do so in the full and certain knowledge that my successor and his team will go on to bigger and better things. 

Neil Hutchinson the incoming Managing Director said ‘’I join Bolton Arena in its 20th year with a strong legacy of building supporting and developing sporting talent in Bolton and contributing to the health and wellbeing of the local community. 

The last year has been extremely challenging and the team have successfully navigated and worked hard to survive the COVID pandemic which is to be applauded and gives me the privilege of a sound platform and financial security to continue to grow and prosper. 

I have over 30 years of experience developing leisure , fitness , and health facilities. I want to help grow the current successful model with the talented Bolton Arena team and trustees.

Out of a crisis has come opportunity with the next 18 months crucial to our recovery and growth , we intend to take full opportunity to support the local community in Bolton and work collaboratively with other organisations to improve health , wellbeing, and opportunities to access sport.

Once the restrictions are eased, we plan to fully celebrate with an exciting programme of activity and events to mark our 20-year anniversary and showcase what we do.

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Call us on 01204 488100 or email info@boltonarena.com