Youngsters celebrate swimming pool cash

YOUNGSTERS at a Suffolk primary school will be celebrating this morning after winning £80,000 to help refurbish and improve their disused swimming pool.

A GREAT big thank you was sent out by schoolchildren today to the thousands who backed their bid to win £80,000 to refurbish their swimming pool.

Youngsters at Colneis Junior, Felixstowe, were celebrating after they topped the TV phone poll to scoop the grant as part of the lottery-backed ITV People's Millions programme.

Viewers of Anglia News voted for the project after a nail-biting head to head contest with residents of Wickham Market, who were hoping to secure funds for three new tennis courts.

Brian Clark, chairman of the Felixstowe project, called Splashing Out, said everyone was “absolutely thrilled” to have won.

The £80,000, added to the £33,000 already raised by the group run by of former and current pupils, staff and friends of the school, meant the project could now start.

“We just want to thank everyone who supported us and made phone calls - it was a fantastic effort,” said Mr Clark.

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People were allowed to phone in up to ten times during the poll, and there was a huge co-ordinated effort to make sure as many calls as possible were made.

It is reckoned that calls made by the families of two classes at the school topped 4,000 votes alone. Felixstowe port owners Hutchison Ports sent an email to all employees urging them to vote for Colneis.

“Emails and texts were pinging round the town all day - the support we were getting was mind blowing.”

The project will involve turning the school's disused six by 13 metre outdoor pool into a modern indoor pool complex which can be used by the children and the community, too.

Splashing Out spokesman Steve Ransom said: “We intend to offer use of this facility to the children attending other primary schools in the Felixstowe area, none of which have a pool of their own. In addition, we foresee other children's groups, such as scouts and guides, using the facility outside school hours.

“In fact we want to ensure that the pool is used as often as possible. Felixstowe has a large population of older people who may prefer to use this quieter more private pool to that on offer at the town's leisure centre.”

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