Record launch at Pells Pool in Lewes

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The Pells Pool’s 2014 summer season in Lewes got off to a flying start on Saturday.

The venue hosted a bumper first weekend ahead of the “official” opening event at 12noon tomorrow (Saturday).

The oldest outdoor freshwater pool in the UK opened its gates for the first swim of the year. The soaring May temperatures saw the best-ever opening weekend for the Pells – with more than 1,000 people coming through the gates in the first three days.

At tomorrow’s official opening there will be prizes for children’s races across the pool – including a free annual season ticket.

The pool will be providing cake and fruit to all who come along. Musicians will escort Neptune to bless the waters. And the new Mayor of Lewes, Cllr Micheal Turner, will be on hand to welcome people to the venue.

Pool Manager Phil Ransley said: “It’s an amazing community asset – and to see the delight on people’s faces as they came in to enjoy the pool again was wonderful. Many families stayed for the whole day – relaxing on the grass, while children splashed happily in the water.”

The Pells had a record year in 2013, with bumper crowds attracted by the lure of the blue waters and the green grass. The pool, which is unheated, provided the perfect way to cool off during the exceptional hot weather.

Phil explained: “We attracted record numbers to the pool, which means that we have some small additional resources to invest in improvements this year. We’re basing these improvements on the survey we did of pool users.”

The pool has improved the changing rooms, with soft new flooring, and will be making small lockers available for valuables and new floats for people to enjoy in the pool.

The survey also indicated that the biggest improvement would be extended opening hours from the end of May. The pool will therefore be opening earlier than its traditional noon time on weekends – with a 10am start on Saturdays and Sundays from May 31 onwards.

Phil thinks this should be welcome all round: “Not only does this mean we can welcome people in the mornings at weekends, it should ease the queuing which used to develop at noon and could sometimes mean a wait to get in.”

The pool is also keeping its ticket prices fixed for the fourth year running, which means it’s better value than ever since the season and daily prices includes the 10am weekend opening.

The Pells will also be trying out new early morning swims on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a 7am-9am session on both days from June onwards.