March 2015: School swimmers back pool campaign


SWIMMERS from Haslingden High School are backing a campaign to reopen Haslingden Baths.

Swimming ceased in the town in November 2013 when the pool closed and since then residents have had to travel to swim.

Although the town’s swimming club relocated to Hyndburn Leisure Centre, it now only meets once a week.

In summer last year a campaign group HAPPI –  Haslingden All People’s Pool Initiative – was set up and a business plan is being compiled by founder Selina Hope.

She aims to establish a community group to reopen the pool building to a wide range of uses and approached Haslingden High School to canvass support from the students.

Members of Haslingden Aces, a swimming club at the school, met with Selina to discuss the plans. Many of the team learnt to swim in the pool and swam regularly at the baths.

Nuala Kearney, from Year 8, said: “She asked us whether we want to keep a pool in that building or if we wanted to try to get a new one and we thought it was nicer to keep the building.

“I was part of Haslingden Swimming Club and I was disappointed when they closed the pool. It didn’t need to be shut; it just needed something doing with it.”

Nuala now goes swimming in Ramsbottom, Heywood, Hyndburn and with school at Marl Pits.

Year 7 students Ashlea Jolly and Edward Shaw are also members of Haslingden Aces and used to go regularly to the baths. Both now swim in three different locations each week.

Ashlea said: “Everybody was so happy there. We all loved it and it was more of a social place rather than just for swimming and training.”

Edward learnt to swim in the pool and has been going since he was three. Selina said: “We are so grateful that the young people of Haslingden are as passionate about Haslingden Baths as we are and are.

“We are keen to work with all local schools in the area. We have a long journey but we notice how important this is to the community every day when more keen volunteers offer their services.

“Thank you Haslingden High School’s swim squad – Haslingden Aces, and Deputy head, Gill Smith for working with us on this.”