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Lifesaver for Dallam pool!

November 7, 2014 3:01 PM

SOUTH Cumbria's only open-air swimming pool has been thrown a £50,000 lifeline following a two-year closure and fears it would never open again.

Supporters of Dallam pool at Heversham, near Milnthorpe, are celebrating victory after Sports England (SE) stepped in to save the 43-year-old attraction which, at its peak, saw 12,000 swimmers a year.

Head of the fundraising team, Drusilla Pickthall, said SE's announcement would cause a huge splash among all those who loved and campaigned to save the 20m by 10m pool.

She explained: "Dallam swimming club needed £62,000 for essential repairs and an energy efficient air source heat pump, a very large sum for a small group to find.

"We had raised £16,800 locally from members, grants and donations, but thanks to SE we hope to have the pool up and running again next year."

Over the years, it has seen thousands of children learn to swim, with many youngsters going on to train as lifeguards. Members are drawn from a wide area.

Mrs Pickthall added: "We are indebted to all those who have helped come to our rescue.

"The loss of such an important and unique community facility has been profoundly felt. We're delighted that there is every chance we'll be open for swimming early next summer.

"We are the county of lakes, rivers, tarns and coast. Teaching children to swim is paramount and we were determined to do everything possible to preserve the area's only open-air pool.

"Although membership had dwindled latterly, due to poor summers, an ineffective heating system and deterioration, we are confident we can bring back around 950 annual student and community users.

"With pools at Grange and Troutbeck closed, our survival means we can embark on ambitious programmes ranging from swimming lessons to canoe training and even health initiatives.

"Cumbria has six outdoor pools, the others in Eden, but ours in the biggest and deepest. We have missed two long, hot summers, but there is relief and excitement now for a jubilant return."

Mrs Pickthall said club and community were very grateful to Dallam school and its head, William Bancroft, for allowing them to take over the pool's lease and contributing towards future maintenance.

It is one of 148 sports projects to secure a share of £10million worth of National Lottery funding from SE's Inspired Facilities fund.

SE property director, Charles Johnston, said it was great to see Dallam swimmers join a long list of successful clubs to benefit.

Campaign backer Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said he was 'over the moon' by the club's success and called on the community to continue its support.