The End of An Era

It is with VERY mixed feelings that I can now say I am no longer teaching regular classes at Thornbury Leisure Centre. It is very sad for me that I have had to make this decision and I can't quite believe it will no longer be a regular part of my life. I have been involved in TLC in 1 way or another for over half my life! I don't think it will hit me until Tuesday morning when I don't have to be out of the house ready for the 9am class. Thursday was an incredibly emotional morning for me and I hate to think that I won't be seeing some of you on a regular basis anymore. I know lots of you are coming with me to other classes etc, but I appreciate that isn't possible for everyone because of times, days, memberships and other things too. To those of you who I won't see regularly (and to those of you who I will!) thankyou so much for all your support over the last 18 years of my career and for seeing me through some joyful and also some very tough times. I have always truly loved my job and I know I am very lucky to be able to say that. Whilst I do love jigging about and telling people what to do (my mum says this is the perfect job for me because I get to show off and boss people about at the same time), the real thing that makes my job a joy is the people who I get to spend my days with. I've gotten to know so many of you over the years and you've all been so supportive, inspiring and just such amazing fun to be around. I cannot thank you enough for helping make the classes at the leisure centre SUCH a success! It's not really the END end because I've asked to stay on the cover list so will hopefully be offered the occasional class when Ruth is on holiday. Speaking of Ruth...please be kind to her. Taking over someone else's class is extremely scary, let alone a class that has had the same instructor for 18 years and is as massive as the 60+ groups at TLC. I'm sure she will put on a brave face on Tuesday but, unless she's a much braver lady than me, she will be bricking it. A smile goes a long way in those first few classes, I assure you. Thankyou all so much for the kind messages you've all sent me and for all my cards and presents. I actually haven't even opened all my cards yet - I'm finding I have to stagger them coz some of them are pretty intense! Love to you all! On that note, I thought it was only fitting to indulge myself in a little trip down memory lane with my 'origin story' which wouldn't have happened without the leisure centre. If you're only here for weekly updates or news on classes then I'm afraid this is not the week for you! Normal newsletter service will resume next week! When I was just a little whipper snapper (I think I was about 20) I decided I wanted to get back to doing some dance-type stuff. I always danced as a kid, but gave it up when I moved from Penzance to Bristol when I was 16. At the time things like Zumba and Barre Fitness didn't exist and the only similar thing that was available in the area was Aerobics! Good old fashioned Aerobics! I can still remember my first trip into Thornbury Leisure Centre to pick up a timetable! I was actually nervous and didn't even know what to ask for. I was given a timetable by a friendly receptionist and off I trotted to have a think. Now, I can't remember which of the 2 came first, but I know my first 2 classes were a Monday night 20-20-20 (20 mins aerobics, 20 mins step, 20 mins body con) with Laura Pink and a Thursday morning Body Conditioning with Sharon Layton (MAAAARCH - if you know, you know). After those first 2 classes I was hooked! I started going to all the classes TLC had to offer. Fast forward a few years and I'm at uni studying History and Laura (the instructor of a few of my regular classes) became pregnant. As the keener of the class she asked if I'd like to take over her classes whilst she was on maternity leave. So, off I trotted to do my Exercise To Music Course during my summer holidays from uni (some people went on holiday, I spent it in a sweaty dance studio in Gloucester learning how to shout '5, 6, 7, 8' at people) and then I took over her classes in September. I have to say it was a much better way to earn some dosh during my 2nd and 3rd year at uni than working in a shop or a bar! Once Laura had her baby (who is now at university by the way, that's how long ago this was!), I was offered some of my own classes at the leisure centre. I gradually picked up more qualifications and taught more classes at TLC. Over the years I've taught so much there - Aerobics, Step, 20-20-20, Salsacise, Zumba, Circuits, Aerotone (a group exercise class in the grotty old weights room!), Body Conditioning, Pilates and probably some other stuff I can't even remember now! Over time I gained the confidence to go out and build some of my own classes in the community, which is what I will be continuing to do from now on. But I really wouldn't have gotten here if it hadn't been for everyone who has attended one of my classes at TLC and helped me build my confidence, skill and love for what I do. On Thursday I said my final goodbyes to my class, I handed out chocolates and I handed in my head-mic for the last time. I had a little cry, had some very big hugs and took a moment to look around the leisure centre which is so different now to the leisure centre I started attending classes in. I said goodbye to the receptionists and walked out for the final time. Then I got home and realised I'd left my audio lead in the stereo so I went straight back! I'm not sure why but it felt like a fitting end to the story!

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That's all folks and well done if you've made it to the bottom of this post!

All community classes are running as normal next week. TLC lot let me know how Tuesday and Thursday go and don't be strangers!

Have a fab weekend,

Sam xxx

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