Heathfield swimming pool reaches major milestone

THE CAMPAIGN to build an indoor swimming pool in Heathfield reached a major milestone last Saturday.

Community fundraising has now achieved the target needed to submit a formal planning application.

The announcement was made in front of 140 people who packed the town’s Community Centre to take part in a charity quiz.

Former BBC South Today anchorwoman and Vines Cross resident Beverley Thompson drew the winning ticket to win a Vauxhall Agila. The prize draw raised a £10,000 profit for the campaign.

Beverley said: “I love living here and when this pool is built, I aim to be the first one in it.”

The winner of the car was Mrs T Caldwell of Bodle Street Green.

The audience heard that £30,000 has now been raised so the The Heathfield Partnership can now submit a detailed planning application.

The fund was also boosted by £4,000 from the Heathfield Co-op, which named the pool initiative as their charity of the year, and £3,000 from NatWest Bank. The pool campaign was short-listed in the bank’s competition to find the County’s most popular charity and finally the honour outright.

Heathfield Partnership and County Council chairman Cllr Rupert Simmons said: “The town’s terrific input into this is an example of the big society in action. The fund was kick-started with a £5,000 donation from Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council and other parishes also contributed.

“We now start to fundraise for the £2.3 million needed to pay for the project itself. Once we have planning consent we can apply for major grants. Huge thanks are due to Jack Hampton who pitched up with the car and tickets at every summer event in the worst of the weather.”

He also praised fellow Partnership directors Chris Macklin, Trevor Goldsmith, campaign founder Don Rigg and Bob Kiernan who sadly died before he could see the dream realised.

County has given consent for the pool to be sited within Heathfield Community College’s campus. Rupert continued: “The Heathfield Partnership agreed to take over management of the campaign and covered the risk while the College and its governors have been very much in the forefront of the campaign.

“This really is an example of what people can achieve when they work together towards a goal.”