Flashback Friday: Lido delight at PM award
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 September 2018
In Flashback Friday Enjoy Beccles More takes a look back at some of the town's major stories and events from times gone-by.
This week we look back to 2011 when Beccles Lido received a prestigious award prime minister David Cameron.
The article below, written by Donna-Louise Bishop, first appeared in the Beccles and Bungay Journal on Friday, November 25, 2011.
Lido delight at PM award
A group of volunteers who rallied their community to take on, rejuvenate and run a heated open-air swimming pool in Waveney, are celebrating after receiving the prestigious Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.
Formed by volunteers after the closure of the much-loved Lido at Puddingmoor in Beccles, Beccles Lido Limited is one of 25 organisations to receive the award, set up last November by David Cameron.
The award aims to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities.
Co-director Shaun Crowley, said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers and local organisations who have helped us save the pool and create Beccles Lido, It is a fantastic endorsement of Beccles Lido Limited’s charitable, social sport, health, business and environmental goals.
“It will be a real inspirations as we continue our work at the Lido and embark on our next project to save the Public Hall and theatre in Beccles, which is under similar threat of closure.”
The group, made up of local residents, galvanised the town and set about the ambitious task of revamping, re-opening and running the pool themselves.
With overwhelming support from local people and businesses who pledged time, money and expertise, beccles Town Council agreed to start negotiating the transfer of the pool and in 2010 Beccles Lido Limited acquired the freehold.
Since then the group of volunteers have raised over £300,000 and closed up more than 10,000 volunteer hours.
Their fund-raising efforts of coffee mornings, quizzes, dances and a lottery also continues to provide a regular income for the pool.
Committee member and user of the Lido, Douglas Johnstone, said: “To preserve the pool, run it and turn around a profit, it’s a great achievement . It was more or less given up for dead.”
In 2008 the Lido had a £60,000 annual loss and saw less than 8,500 swimmer but the turn-around saw almost 30,000 visitors during the 15-week summer season.
Congratulating Beccles Lido Limited, Mr Cameron said: “Beccles Lido shows the great things that can happen when the power of a community is unleashed.
“Congratulations to Beccles Lido Limited and all the many volunteers and local businesses who decided to take action and play a part in the pool’s future. Through your passion, determination and great community spirit, you have shown what the Big Society is all about and created not just a wonderful new Lido that the town can come together and enjoy, but a stronger community too.”