Pool opens in 50th year

SHOWERS and gusting winds did not put swimmers off at Portishead Open Air Pool as it launched into its 2012 season.

Scores of swimmers took to the water as the pool reopened on Saturday, amid anniversary celebrations, exactly 50 years after it first opened in 1962.

To mark the half century, Portishead Town Council chairman councillor Arthur Terry repeated the original kettle pouring opening ceremony act, which was carried out by the Lord Mayor of Bristol in 1962 to symbolise the heating of the water.

The weather meant fairground rides and a tethered hot air balloon planned for the occasion had to be cancelled, but visitors said they were far from disappointed.

Claire Taylor of Bristol Road, whose nine-year-old daughter Ellie was swimming, said: “It’s a great atmosphere, the water is warm and everyone is having a great time. No-one seems to mind that there are no rides or even notice the showers when they come.”

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A huge blow-up cake attracted much attention, art and craft activities took place, raffle prizes were handed out every hour throughout the day and Heritage Estate Agents, which is celebrating 10 years in Portishead this year, organised a balloon race to help raise funds for the pool.

North Somerset MP Dr Liam Fox who arrived for the opening ceremony said: “Portishead should be very proud of this wonderful outdoors sports facility and it is fantastic to be celebrating 50 years of the pool in this Olympic year.”

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The pool was saved from closure by campaigners who formed a community trust to take over the running of the facility from North Somerset Council in 2009.

Since the trust took over, it has taken part in a TV makeover programme, upgraded facilities, revamped the toddler pool and installed new changing facilities for disabled visitors.

The lido relies heavily on volunteers to help keep it maintained and in operation and is currently seeking more lifeguards. To find out more visit www.portisheadopenairpool.org.uk

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