New look Beccles Lido is officially open

It might be chilly outside but the water at the newly reopened Beccles Lido is warm and inviting.

The open-air swimming pool in Puddingmoor opened for a full season today following months of repairs and improvement works.

The heated pool, which was at risk of closure in 2009, was taken over by community-run charity Beccles Lido Limited after Waveney District Council revealed the site would shut if an alternative body did not step forward.

In response, local people join forces first to save the pool from closure and then to raise the thousands of pounds needed to keep it going.

At 7.30am this morning Beccles Lido officially reopened for summer.

'People have been so excited,' said director Shaun Crowley, who first became involved in the lido campaign by offering to help the Friends of Beccles Open Air Swimming Pool with a simple power point demonstration.

'There was a queue this morning and every night we've had kids by the gate asking us when we are opening and whether the spring board will be back.

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'There's a relaxed atmosphere here and, I think, that's one of the reasons they want to come. They're not going to get told off for talking or laughing.'

The restoration was funded through various grants including �4,500 from Suffolk Foundation's Transforming Suffolk Community Fund; �5,000 from Suffolk County Council's Improve and Prove Fund; and �150,000 from the British Gas Green Streets scheme.

Last month a Beccles Lido Variety Show raised more than �2,000 and an Auction of Promises last Friday raised a further �3,000.

The lido is now open every day from 7.30am until 6.30pm, and 8pm on Thursdays (weather permitting). There are concessions for the over 60s and under 18s, lane swimming before 10am every morning and a giant inflatable for youngsters.

'We've reached the end of this journey,' said part-time volunteer Henry Hall, manning the new and improved pool-side cafe.

'Now we're beginning a new chapter. There's work still to be done.'

Due to technical issues - a reminder of the numerous problems that plagued the 2010 season, the lido's toddler pool has not yet re-opened but engineers are on site working through the weekend.

• For more information call 01502 713297, visit www.beccleslido.com or search for Beccles Lido on Facebook.

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