THE only swimming pool in Bedlington has reopened after being given a last minute reprieve by a local councillor.
Bedlington Swimming School, based at St Benet Biscop RC High School, was forced to shut earlier this summer for seven weeks, after a problem with chemicals in the water.
Owners Paul Stocks and Denise Wilson spent thousands of pounds investigating where the problem was coming from and the pool was at the brink of ruin.
The pair had already lost £16,000 through the closure and when the problem was narrowed down to the pool lining leaking nitrates, which then reacted with the chlorine in the water, there was no money left to rectify the problem.
Paul said: “We invested everything we had trying to find out what was the matter and when we found out it was the liner we had spent all our money.
“It turned out to be nitrates reacting with the chlorine.
“We were forced to close, I would never let any child into water that is unsafe.”
A new pool liner would cost £14,400 and the pool would have to remain shut for health and safety reasons, until Paul and Denise were able to secure a bank loan.
However, they were saved when local councillor Val Tyler, whose grandchildren attended swimming lessons at the pool, heard about their predicament.
Coun Tyler, of Bedlington East, donated the money needed from her members’ small schemes allowance and the pool is now as good as new and is again giving youngsters the chance to learn to swim.
She said: “I couldn’t have thought of a better way to use the money, it will benefit so many children.
“It’s a smashing little pool and without it families would have to travel to either Blyth, Ashington or Morpeth.”
“We can’t thank her enough,” Paul said. “We are absolutely overwhelmed.
“Without her help we would really have struggled.
“We now have a pool that looks absolutely brand new. We are back to normal with our classes and ready for the school swimming lessons starting in September as well as our aquafit classes.
“We are also going to resume our parent and baby sessions on Sunday mornings.”
Paul is also hoping to upgrade the changing rooms and is exploring various funding options.
For more information about sessions, or if you can help with funding, call (01670) 827 229.