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Parents step up £30,000 bid to save village swimming pool

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

PARENT POWER: A campaign to save a community swimming pool in Long Sutton desperately needs more support.

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Parents trying to save a village swimming pool have issued a desperate plea to the community to help raise more than £30,000 by next summer.

Long Sutton Primary School’s open-air swimming pool is in urgent need of an upgrade to save it from permanent closure.

The school’s governors have given a committee of parents a year to raise the funds needed to ensure the pool will reopen.

So far the fundraising committee has raised £3,500 – just 10 per cent of the £35,000 needed for a new heated pool which will benefit pupils and the community.

Children formerly used the 1980s facility for swimming lessons but the basic outdoor pool has no insulation or heating.

Father-of-two Jon Rapley, chairman of the Long Sutton Primary School swimming pool committee, said it would be “no small task” to raise the remaining £31,500 by the summer but he is determined to succeed.

He said: “The pool didn’t open at all this year because it was in such a state of disrepair and the kids really missed out.

“If we don’t raise the money we will lose a valuable asset to the school and the whole community. We want to avoid that at all costs.”

Since the “Don’t Pull The Plug” campaign was launched in April the committee, which is made up of 13 parents of pupils at the school, has held a number of fundraising events and more are planned. It is hoped their efforts could be boosted by grants.

Mr Rapley said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have supported us so far but we still have a long way to go.

“The committee are working very hard to achieve our target but the very difficult economic climate is making our task even more challenging. We have a lot of hard work to do between now and Christmas.”

The committee’s next fundraiser is a gig by popular rock covers band Storm at the Edgar Hall in Somerton on Saturday, October 20.

The musical evening will start at 7.30pm and tickets priced at £7 are available now from Williams Supermarket, Somerton or Long Sutton Village Shop.

On October 23 an evening of cooking demonstrations and sale of kitchenware will be held at Long Sutton Village Hall, from 7.30pm. The committee is also organising an auction night on Saturday, November 17.

Lots include an invitation to tea at Westminster with local MP David Heath, a tour of the set of ITV soap Coronation Street, a spa day for two, a VIP day at the Wincanton races as well as signed Michael Owen football strips.

One committee member has even donated a promise to iron a basket of laundry as one of the lots.

The event starts at 7pm. Tickets are £5, and include a ploughman’s supper. They are available from Long Sutton Village Shop, the primary school reception or by contacting Mr Rapley.

Anyone who would like to get involved with the fundraising campaign can contact Mr Rapley on 07973 488209 or by e-mail at jonrapley707@gmail.com.

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