Group behind Beccles Lido collects award from Prime Minister

A group of volunteers who rallied their community together to turn around the fate of its open air swimming pool in Beccles, have been to London to receive a prestigious award from David Cameron.

The Beccles Lido Limited group, set up following the closure of the pool, received the Prime Minister's Big Society Award, as announced in the Beccles and Bungay Journal last month, after they turned it into a successful business.

Suzanne Gibbons, co-director, said: 'It was marvellous. I was very impressed with the arrangements and particularly with the lovely speech which Mr Cameron gave, which seemed to be completely off the cuff and he remembered things about the Lido.

'We were all thrilled at going to London and it gave us a chance to meet with other groups who had received the award. We shared ideas and it was nice to exchange.

'The whole event encompassed everything about the Big Society and I was impressed with the calibre of the other groups.

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'We are all very pleased and proud to receive this award and we hope the town of Beccles is too as it's a good accolade to the community.'

The volunteers secured overwhelming support from the town when they first started the group, with local people and businesses pledging time, money and expertise. Waveney County Council then agreed to start negotiating the transfer of the pool, based at Puddingmoor, and in 2010 Beccles Lido Limited acquired the freehold.

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Congratulating the group, Mr Cameron said: 'Beccles Lido shows the great things that can happen when the power of a community is unleashed.

'You're not just volunteers and brilliant people who give of service; you're also incredibly entrepreneurial, incredibly inventive. The things that you do are things that the state and the government and the local government failed to do. You thought of a brilliant way of doing something to help others and for that I'm very grateful.'

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