11:53AM, Friday 17 January 2014
The man who devoted half his life to building up Windsor Leisure Centre now has a new challenge - helping raise £5million to fund Berkshire's first children's hospice.
Jes Spencer first started work at the leisure centre in Stovell Road in 1987, rising to be general manager. Now he has become an ambassador for the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service, the charity founded by Dedworth couple John and Fiona Devine in memory of their son who died of a rare brain tumour aged eight.
John and Fiona launched a £5m capital project in November to fund Berkshire's first children's hospice. They have the site at Snowball Hill in Woodlands Park, Maidenhead and plan to start work within the year.
Jes said: "My neighbour's children went to school with Alexander so I knew about him. Then I met Fiona and was struck by her incredible energy.
"She has gone from being a mother to being this incredible businesswoman, motivator and communicator."
Jes does not lack motivation himself.
He went to work at Windsor Leisure Centre the year that the Queen opened the new facility.
He left for a time but returned to play a leading role when the new extended centre was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh exactly 10 years later in 1997.
Since then annual visitor numbers have escalated from 400,000 a year in the 1980s to 850,000.
Jes, 50, has loved sport all his life and began his career as a football coach. He moved to Windsor in 1987 when he first went to work at the leisure centre and still lives in the town with his wife Kate.
The couple have four children aged between 24 and 16.
Jes oversees regular events at the leisure centre to raise money for the Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service - everything from treadmill challenges to zumbathons. While his equally enthusiastic staff have also run half marathons for the cause.