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School swimming pool re-opens after £16,000 refurbishment

PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:51 30 September 2019

The children were very excited to see their new pool   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The children were very excited to see their new pool Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Pupils at St Helen Primary School and Nursery in Ipswich will be taking the plunge into a new-look swimming pool following a major fundraising effort.

Children and parents were very excited to see the new pool  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren and parents were very excited to see the new pool Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The indoor pool at St Helen's Primary School and Nursery has re-opened again after a £16,000 upgrade paid for after students, staff and parents rallied round with a range of fundraising events.

As well as discos, cake sales, and no uniform days, there was a sponsired triathlon where pupils across the school ran, swam or scootered their way into raising funds.

The events culminated with an 'International Day' celebrating and embracing the diverse cultures represented by the pupils in the school, featuring dance, music, arts and food.

The pool was officially re-opened by Ipswich Mayor Jan Parry.

Mayor of Ipswich Jan Parry opened the brand new pool at St Helens's Primary School     Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMayor of Ipswich Jan Parry opened the brand new pool at St Helens's Primary School Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Head teacher Kate Hodgetts said: "The transformation has been amazing. It has been a slow process for many reasons in a building as old as ours, but I am sure the children will be delighted by the outcome.

"Many schools have had to close down their pools as the costs of maintaining them are too high, but I am so grateful to the Friends of St Helen's and our local community for the amazing work they did in saving our pool, and a special thanks to Juliette Lobley our PTA chair who spent a lot of hours with her team making this a reality."

Ms Hodgetts said the pool had to close at the start of the 2018 summer term because it was felt it was no longer safe for pupils to use.

The children were very excited to see their new pool   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe children were very excited to see their new pool Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"We needed a shower fitted to allow pupils to wash before and after entering the pool, the vinyl flooring was coming away from the walls and the ventilation system was inadequate," she said.

School swimming teacher Lesley Howe said: "I am so pleased to be going back to my pool and teaching swimming again.

"It is a lovely bright pool now and I am looking forward to teaching the children who really missed out last year.

"It has given the pool a new lease of life for many years to come."

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