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Appeal to swimmers to save pool

PUBLISHED: 11:07 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:36 01 August 2010

A SWIMMING club at the heart of a Norfolk community is calling out to the 10,000 people it has taught to swim over three decades in a bid to save the pool where it trains from closure.

A SWIMMING club at the heart of a Norfolk community is calling out to the 10,000 people it has taught to swim over three decades in a bid to save the pool where it trains from closure.

The Loddon White Dolphin Swimming Club, now in its 34th year, could face losing the indoor pool unless money can be found to upgrade the facility.

The pool, which is at Hobart High School, is suffering from wear and tear and needs major renovation work to stay open.

Now club chiefs are appealing for support from the thousands of people from across Norfolk and Suffolk who learned to swim with the White Dolphins, saying that a £7 donation from every member past and present would secure the future of the club.

The £400,000 project will include a remodelling of the changing rooms, a new canopy and a new heating system.

Club chairman Mark Stone said: “It will guarantee the future of the club and swimming opportunities for the community. We hope the community and all the past swimmers get behind us. We've got the next two generations coming through since the club started, so hopefully we can spark some fond memories of old members and people will support us.”

The club, which is aimed at teaching youngsters to swim rather than training them for competitions, now has 450 members on its books aged three to 16.

Mr Stone added: “If we get another 10,000 people to be safe in water then the club has ultimately done its job.”

He said many ex-members would remember being trained by the late Ted White, PE teacher at Hobart High, who founded the club in 1975.

Hobart High's headteacher John Robson said the school was fully committed to the project. “It's had its day,” he said. “What we are trying to do with the White Dolphins is get something new in place before it stops functioning.

“It's a remarkable group of people who run the club. They are fantastic users of the pool and they have got an unbelievable reputation in terms of the number of people they have taught to swim over the last 30 years.”

He added: “It's the community engagement of the White Dolphins that plays a fundamental part in this community. Shutting the pool and losing this 30-year-old club would be a disaster - we can't allow that to happen.”

He said that although the pool was used by some younger year groups at Hobart, it was used more heavily by primary schools in the area who would struggle to find an alternative location.

He said other ways of finding the money would be explored to top up the funding that will come from Norfolk County Council, the school and the club, adding that the work could be carried out next summer while the pool is not in use.

The White Dolphins have already raised £15,000 towards their own target of £70,000, some of which was raised at a sponsored swim.

Anyone wishing to donate can

e-mail the school at office@hobart.norfolk.sch.uk

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