All systems go at Beccles Lido

VOLUNTEERS have devoted more than 1,200 hours to scrubbing, hosing, fixing and planting at Beccles Lido in preparation for its first full summer season which starts tomorrow.

The open air swimming pool will open after a range of repairs and improvements over the winter.

The lido opened for just five short weeks last summer after a long list of vital and costly repairs, including fixing a long standing leak.

During the winter the filtration tanks have been emptied, refurbished and refilled and the chlorination system, which was partly replaced last year, has now been completely upgraded. Over the last month an army of volunteers has weeded, painted and tidied up, devoting more than 1,200 hours to the lido.

Graham Norgate, who has supervised much of the work, said: “Whilst it has been extremely hard work, we have now replaced or refurbished virtually all aspects of the plant room and fixed the leak, and I would like to personally thank the many volunteers who have spent in excess of 1,200 hours at the lido.”

The Beccles Lido opened in 1959 and has been a popular local facility ever since. At the end of the 2008 season, Waveney District Council announced that, unless an alternative body stepped forward to manage the pool, it would not open in 2009.

The Friends of Beccles Open Air Swimming Pool has campaigned to save the pool since 2006. Their view was that, if a longer term plan was implemented, the pool could not only be saved but improved, that visitors would increase and that the pool could be viable.

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Beccles Lido Limited was created and the pool re-opened at the beginning of August last year. Following the repairs this year it will open for 15 weeks.

Following on from the success of April’s Beccles Lido Variety Show, which raised more than �2,000, an Auction of Promises last Friday raised a further �3,000.

The lido has also received �4,500 from Suffolk Foundation’s Transforming Suffolk Community Fund towards subsidized swimming for U18s and O60s, and another for �5,000 from Suffolk County Council’s Improve and Prove Fund towards staff salaries.

Director Shaun Crowley said: “The grants that we have been able to secure mean that we can again offer subsidised swimming for U18s and O60s and concessions; and we have also decided that in these tough economic times we will keep our entrance prices the same as last season. So please come and use your lido and help us prove that it should never have been closed.”

• The Lido re-opens on Saturday at 7:30am. It will be open every day from 7:30am until 6:30pm, and 8pm on Thursdays (weather permitting).

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