Paralympic champion backs Ashfield councillor's campaign to reopen swimming pools

A paralympic champion swimmer has joined an Ashfield councillor’s campaign to see swimming pools safely re-open.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 10:43 am
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 10:44 am
Lammas Leisure Centre

The swimming world was left stunned after the prime minister announced plans to re-open virtually every industry except leisure.

Three-time Paralympic champion Ollie Hynd has spoken of his frustration.

He said “I urge the government to re-open our pools.

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“We can do this safely and we risk losing a generation of swimmers if we don’t get them back in the pool.”

Ashfield District councillor Melanie Darrington, who is a swimming teacher and mum of a competitive swimmer, began her campaign after she was also contacted about the issue by a number of residents.

She said: “Swim England has been working with the government for weeks to get the pools back open on July 4.

“Comprehensive guidelines have been produced so that swimmers can safely return to the pool. If changing rooms need to stay closed - fine, it’s not a problem.

“If we need to ration lanes - fine we will do it. If our swimmers need to train in snorkels - they will do it no hesitation.

“Ashfield and Mansfield have produced some of the best swimmers of all time. We want to produce more and can do so in a safe way.”

Swim schools have also expressed fears that they face financial ruin.

Ms Darrington added: “Swimming is the best form of exercise - it helps tackle obesity and maintain good mental health. As a vital life skill, many school children will miss their chance to learn to swim.”

Councillor Darrington has contacted the MPs for Mansfield and Ashfield and asked for their support.

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, said: ‘‘I’m keen to see all of our sports and exercise facilities back open asap, including swimming pools which are really important for our collective physical and mental health.

“I’m pressing the government to move fast and I understand that as we speak a panel is looking at how best to safely get them open as soon as possible. The sooner the better.”

Lee Anderson MP for Ashfield was also keen to offer his support.

He said: “The health of our nation is important, which is why I am talking with the government daily to ensure we get the industry back on its feet.”