AN eight-year-old girl's dream to be part of the opening of a new £10 million leisure centre has come true as she became the first person to use the swimming pool.

Lily Rowlands took the plunge with friends at Horwich Leisure Centre on Sunday to see if the new pool was a patch on the older version.

And the Chorley New Road Primary School pupil, who swam at the old centre every week, was pleased with the improvement and has pledged to visit the new facility more often than she did before.

The opportunity came after Lily wrote a letter to Bolton Council, asking if she could help to launch the new sports hub, which opened officially on Monday.

Her mother Julie said: "It was brilliant. She really loved it. She went there with her friends and she was the first one in the pool and had a play around.

"I think the centre looks lovely. It is bigger and I know it sounds silly, but it looks bigger on the inside than it does on the outside.

"The way they have done everything is really good."

Cllr John Byrne, Bolton Council's cabinet member for culture, youth and sport, described Lily's letter as 'lovely' and said he was pleased with how excited she was for the new centre to open.

He said: "In it she also said how much she enjoys swimming, so we were delighted to give her the chance to be the first person to use our new pool.

"It is wonderful to see that people of all ages will be using this fantastic new facility and we certainly hope Lily will have lots of fun here in the years to come."

As well as the new pool, the centre offers a 100-piece gym with a free weights zone, a dance and fitness studio, workout classes and a sports hall.