Felixstowe pool seats campaign

SWIMMERS celebrated the coming of age of their club and home town pool by launching a £200,000 appeal to provide seating for spectators.It is 21 years since the £4.

SWIMMERS celebrated the coming of age of their club and home town pool by launching a £200,000 appeal to provide seating for spectators.

It is 21 years since the £4.1 million Felixstowe Leisure Centre opened with Felixstowe Swimming Club getting under way at the same time, and which has since encouraged hundreds of youngsters to get involved in the sport and take part in events.

Past and present swimming club members were invited to the 21st birthday party at the pools complex in Undercliff Road West, along with representatives from the regional Amateur Swimming Association and the area's councils.

During the evening an appeal to raise £200,000-plus to provide a bank of 200 seats alongside the main pool was officially launched.

Project manager Rosemary Jones said the aim was to provide somewhere for visitors wanting to watch activities ranging from swimming lessons and teaching groups, to school and club galas, to be able to sit comfortably.

Mrs Jones said: “We go all over the region to take part in events and our own pool here in Felixstowe seems to be the only we ever come across which does not have seating.

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“I don't know why it wasn't included in the original design.

“When teams visit us for galas we have to bring in about 40 plastic seats but they are not comfortable and that is not enough seating for the squads and their supporters.”

Other activities during the evening included a children's treasure hunt and water-polo matches in the main pool, coached and run by the club's professional swimming coach Nick Minns.

Members put together an impressive exhibition of memorabilia - including fascinating facts about the club and its swimmers, team photos, press cuttings and log books, while Nicky Hughes displayed her original red and white swimming costume.

Current swimmers were interested to see how the club colours had changed and intrigued to see which of their teachers used to swim for the club - both Geoff Eagles and John Scarfe were once competitive swimmers and now serve as volunteer teachers. Mr Eagles' own son has just started to have swimming lessons at the club, which has more than 200 members.

Club chairman Derek Barker said swimmers had made excellent progress since 1985.

The 100m girls' open freestyle had gone from 1min 12.7 seconds to 1min 5 seconds, 100m boys' freestyle from 1min 16 to less than one minute, the 50m fly girls' 12 and under from 1min 4 sec to 39.3 secs, and the 50m fly boys 14 and under from 48.8 secs to 33.3 sec.

For more details about the seating project or to donate money, please telephone Rosemary Jones on 01394 275496 or club secretary Sally Smith on 01394 276655.

Celebrate Felixstowe Swimming Club's 21 years - let us have your memories. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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