WHEN the doors to Roefield Leisure Centre in Clitheroe first opened 10 years ago its backers could little have envisaged the success it would be today.

A decade on, the centre which started out as nothing more than a listed barn has gone from strength to strength with a little help from its friends.

Manager Tony Rodia said: "It is fitting to praise those early pioneers from the Ribble Valley Sports and Recreation Association who raised funds for 12 years before the centre opened.

To celebrate the occasion, Roefield is to host a series of events .

The centre, in Edisford Road, Clitheroe, is a registered charity. It is funded through a series of grants, a £16,500 a year subsidy from Ribble Valley Borough Council,and cash generated from hiring out facilities to schools in off-peak times, as well as from the activities on offer and from donations.

It has also seen success through its Investors in People accolade and an NHS Challenge Award for its youth facility, Time Out. Plans to merge Roefield with the nearby Ribblesdale Pool and tennis courts suffered a setback in 1998 when a lottery bid for more than £1m failed.

It hopes to bounce back with another campaign to extend facilities by reducing its bid to around £600,000.

Over the past few years, Roefield has spent £100,000 on resurfacing the sports hall and aerobic studio and converting the barn into a fitness suite.

Since the opening in January, 1992, at a cost of £560,000, attendance figures at Roefield have risen from 20,000 to 140,000 a year and its budget from £53,00 to £400,000.

It now employs 12 full time and 30 part-time and casual staff compared with two in 1994.

Mr Rodia said: "Roefield's aim has never changed and we will continue to provide services for local people at affordable prices."

To mark its 10th anniversary, Roefield will host a gala dinner and dance on Saturday,April 20, when the sports hall will be transformed into a marquee, with live entertainment and food and wine.

Tickets, priced £30 and including a champagne reception, are available from Mr Rodia at the centre.

In July, the centre will host itsRoefield Commonwealth Games to coincide with the international sports event taking place in Manchester, with competitions open to all children and schools.

September will see a special coup for Roefield and for the Ribble Valley when BBC1's Antique's Roadshow will host one of its popular programmes from the centre.

This will be followed by an open weekend at the end of September.