Splashing time for centre’s anniversary

Staff and swimmers celebrate Blyth Sports Centre's 50th anniversary.
Staff and swimmers celebrate Blyth Sports Centre's 50th anniversary.

Hundreds of swimmers made sure an anniversary party went with a splash.

Residents, customers and children all took part in the 50th anniversary swimming challenge at Blyth Sports Centre.

They swam 21,650 lengths – smashing the target of 18,240 lengths, with each length representing a day the pool had been open.

Former Olympic swimmer Nick Gillingham MBE joined in the action and started the event by diving into the pool at noon on Friday.

The swim lasted 24 hours and a rota was set up with swimmers booking a slot in the pool, some swimming through the night.

There were more than 300 participants in the event with people travelling in from Ponteland, Otterburn, and North Shields. Everyone who took part received a commemorative medal.

The event was run by Active Northumberland, supported by Blyth Town Council.

Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, said: “There was a tremendous community spirit within the centre and it was great to see so many people of all ages, and all swimming abilities joining in to help the centre reach its target. Well done to everyone who took part.”

Coun John Robert Potts, Mayor of Blyth Town Council, added: “I was a pupil at Bedlington Grammar school then the pool was first opened and we came for swimming lessons to Blyth every Wednesday so the pool has many memories for me.”

“There were a lot of happy swimmers taking part in the challenge, each trying their best.

“I am sure the event will encourage more people to take up swimming which is so important.

“It is not just a sport, it supports a healthy living style and can save lives.”

In addition to the 24-hour swim challenge, the centre also offered free swimming on Saturday afternoon.

For more about swimming lessons, fitness classes or events at the sports centre log on to www.activenorthumberland.org.uk