Popular Overton swimming pool reopens following campaign to stop closure

Charlie Thorn with Caroline Richardson, from BBC South Today

Charlie Thorn with Caroline Richardson, from BBC South Today

First published in Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A VILLAGE pool which was under threat of closure has reopened to the public after the community pulled together to save it.

The celebratory event saw dozens of people gather at Lordsfield pool, based at Overton Primary School, where BBC South Today’s Caroline Richardson declared it officially open for use.

As previously reported in The Gazette, the pool was under threat of closure because of funding cuts, and a meeting was held with villagers to drum up support to keep it open.

A campaign, led by Overton Primary School and Lordsfield Swimming Club, was launched, to prevent the facility being lost forever, and volunteers offered their time to staff the pool while others set about raising funds.

The pool has been a popular village attraction since the 1960s, and has been used by thousands of children to learn to swim, as well as adults who make use of a weekly session.

Charlie Thorn, former chairman of the Lordsfield Swimming Club, who won a BBC South Sports Unsung Hero award for his dedication to teaching young people to swim at the pool, was at last Saturday’s event to celebrate its reopening.

He was presented with an honorary membership by Caroline, having retired as club chairman, to thank him for his 30 years of voluntary service. Honorary memberships were also presented to Janice Stott and Brenda Shelbourn.

Lauren McCann, a committee member, said: “The people of Overton have stepped up and made good on their promise to help. Our first aiders and pool rescuers are trained – our supervisors in place, our committee members, creative fundraisers and local sponsors have all been amazing.

“It’s a real community effort and we’re really excited to be opening for summer 2014.”

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