Great Lakes: What's the draw?

We’ve enjoyed his fitness programs, his fun-runs and his fabulous smile at the Great Lakes Aquatic and Leisure Centre for 26 years, but did you know that Len Newman almost slipped the Great Lakes’ net?

It’s true, we almost missed out completely, for when Len was first offered his gig in Forster, he almost didn’t take it, due to the daunting prospect of relocating a young family across the country, from Alice Springs, to ‘who-knows-where’. But ‘who-knows-where’ ended up being exactly where Len never knew he needed to be; home.

“I’d never heard of Forster, and I had two little boys, 18 months and three years old,” he said.

“It wasn’t the greatest timing so I had my doubts, but I came along anyway.

“They brought me out here, and as soon as I got here I was just like, “oh my God, this place is spectacular, where do I sign?” So I took the job and have been here ever since.”

And a good thing it was too. In the past 26 years Len has built a fitness empire, catering to the likes of each and every individual in the community.

They brought me out here, and as soon as I got here I was just like, “oh my God, this place is spectacular, where do I sign?

Len Newman

Babies and children, parents and grandparents, athletes and the not so athletic, Len designed a program for them all.

“It’s all about making sure we offered the right sorts of programs across the board,” he said.

“Since I’ve retired, they’ve actually given me a sort of gold membership so I can keep going to classes.”

On top of maintaining a rigorous exercise regime, Len enjoys painting, and he is also in a band, yep that’s right, the list of skills continues to grow.

But his biggest drawcard is his love of the area, including the serene landscape, the great people, and the community vibe that is the heart and soul of the Great Lakes. So now that we have snagged him, do we as a community get to keep Len forever?

Perhaps not, but don’t worry, his reason is a good one.

“We want to move to Newcastle eventually, my oldest son is going to become a dad and it’s my first grandchild!” 

Well that’s probably fair enough then, the world could definitely use a few more characters like Len.