Kate Evans (‘Kate-the-Plate’) has been part of the fundraising committee for SpArC right from the start of the campaign, having taken to swimming late in life in the run-up to a hip replacement. “As my hip became more painful and I could not get out for my usual walks, I became more housebound and began to get very depressed. Swimming was the only exercise I could take and in addition, I met all sorts of new people and it expanded my social contacts hugely. I am absolutely certain this enhanced my fitness and saved the local NHS time and money in not having to take anti-depressants or pain medication as I became more and more crippled whilst waiting for my operation. All of my new friends at the pool agree that swimming is a vital facility for them. Since I joined the fundraising group and participated in all the events of the last 2 years, I’ve met loads of wonderful new people and had fantastic fun. The SpArC Leisure Centre is so important to all our community – young and old – Please join with me and help Keep Our SpArC Alight!”
Dr. Steve Reynolds, a retired Research Plant Scientist/Senior University academic, who lives at Clunton, has strong views on the necessity of learning to swim. “In my opinion,” he says, swimming lessons are a must in life, not an option. For the Council to suggest that the pool in Bishops Castle may close in the near future is indefensible and could be considered detrimental to a child’s education”. He cites his own childhood experience; “In the hot summer of 1959, I lived near the famous Port Sunlight, where Lord Leverhulme had had a swimming pool or “Lido” – constructed for his workers. In my first year at secondary school, I became a proficient swimmer thanks to his generosity in giving permission for us school kids to use this pool during the day, when the workers would be at work – so we had it pretty much to ourselves”. This generosity was to have fortunate consequences; Eastham Ferry on the western banks of the River Mersey, was a popular place for youngsters during the long hot summer holidays, where they roamed and played in the nearby woodlands and recreation ground. One day Steve and his friends heard screams from the river. Running to investigate they found a group of lads – no more than 8 or 9 years old who had been paddling. One had lost his footing and was effectively drowning in the strong current. Steve and his mates stripped off and rescued the very frightened boy. Steve continues; “I am sure there are many thousands of similar unrecorded events such as this, but to me it was a great shock and the memory has never left me. Not only was I able to help save a life but swimming built my confidence and fitness”. He has very strong views about the possible closure of the SpArC swimming pool.“It is all very well for the Council to suggest children can be transported to another pool if this one closes. What they forget is that in these remote areas, people may not have the resources to fund such transport. It also takes valuable teaching time out from the children. The swimming lesson becomes considerably extended because of the additional travelling. Therefore it is possible that the travelling time is detrimental to the child’s education”
A popular speaker on the circuit, Steve travels widely; lecturing and running “What’s Up Doc?” Plant Clinics at flower shows around the UK. He has featured at Gardener’s World Live; The Southport Show: The Llangollen Gardening Show and the Midlands Summer Gardeners’ Weekend.