SPRIGHTLY 83-year-old Bill Wood has lost count of the thousands of lengths he's swum up and down Guisborough Swimming Pool in the 41 years since it opened. So he was the ideal person to cut the red ribbon at the official re-opening of the pool after its £300,000 renovation by Redcar and Cleveland Council.
Bill, of Guisborough, swims up to three times a week to tot up an impressive three miles of swimming. He was one of the first to use the pool with his family when it first opened in November 1968. He said: "This facility is so important for young and old - for the whole community. It's a very precious asset for Guisborough. We deserve a pool like this - there's no reason why we should have to go outside the town to enjoy swimming. I'm absolutely delighted the council has refurbished it and given it a new lease of life."
Campaigners have battled for years to save the pool and officials say the refurbishment has secured its future. Councillor Denise Bunn said: "Bill's a terrific example of how to keep young and healthy and we're doubly delighted he's now got beautiful new surroundings to swim in!"
Bill added: "I taught my children to swim in the pool and we've been great supporters ever since."
The pool reopened in December but on Friday, Council leader George Dunning, Cllr Joe Keenan and Cllr Denise Bunn, along with Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Ashok Kumar attended official celebrations.
Its improvements include a new reception, changing rooms and poolside surrounds while the roof was refurbished and the pool's cleansing and filtration system modernised to give better water quality.
Cllr Dunning said: "This underlines our view that the pool must remain as a valuable community asset. We made a manifesto commitment to the people of the town and are delighted we've been able to fulfil that pledge."
Campaigner Dr Kumar said: "This is the culmination of a dream for me and for all the users of the pool. It was eight years ago when I first visited it and I was appalled at how run-down it was, but also how popular it was with local swimming clubs, local schools and townsfolk."
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