June 18 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The last time I visited Pinebanks, Norwich Union’s sports and leisure centre, it was to witness the very first arrest of 2006 after a fracas broke out on New Year’s Eve.
I was, I hasten to add, not part of the fracas.
Nor am I stalking the police like a rabid trainspotter in order to tick off certain ‘special’ arrests in my notebook. Far more mundanely, I was following the police for a feature. Probably an award-winning feature, knowing me and my exceptional talent.
Despite advice from my careers teacher, a beetroot-faced doom-monger who believed the media was populated solely by alcoholics, depressives and cretins (which, in retrospect, was an overly-generous analysis), I never did take up the position which Norwich Union offered me at the age of 18.
At the time, Pinebanks was one of the only reasons I could fathom that anyone might want to work for NU – after all, no one dreams of being an insurance clerk when they’re a child, and if yours does, not a court in the land will convict you for leaving he or she on a mountain in the hope they’ll perish by dawn. Fact.
Aviva pulled the plug on Pinebanks in 2008 leaving many sports clubs homeless and effectively ruining my dream of recreating the scene from 2006 and becoming the first person to be arrested in Norfolk on January 1 2009.
Now, new plans have been submitted by developers Ocubis which include sports facilities – not as impressive as before, but better than nothing and not before time. Quote me happy, as Norwich Union once said (I’m still not convinced the name change to Aviva wasn’t a desperate plan to try and disassociate themselves from this horrific catchphrase. Compare the Market? You’re heading in the same direction with ‘simples!’)