When I returned to my home town in 1968 after spending most of the preceding eight years in other parts of England, it came as a shock to find the Blue Lagoon open air swimming pool had been filled in.
Apparently the decision to demolish this fantastic facility had been taken by Hunstanton Urban District Council without consulting the committee of the Seagulls swimming club or the governing bodies of local schools. As a result the town had no public swimming pool of any description until 1984 when the Oasis leisure pool opened, but this lacks facilities for swimming galas, races, diving, or water polo.
However, in the early 1970s, when teaching at Hunstanton Secondary Modern School, I remember taking part in two sponsored walks along the recently closed railway line from Wolferton, to raise money for a small teaching pool, to be located next to the school’s gymnasium.
Now this pool seems destined to suffer the same fate as the Blue Lagoon and it begins to look as if history is about to repeat itself. With this in mind I made enquiries about the level of consultation that should have taken place with interested parties.
It would appear there was little or no consultation before a decision was made that has far reaching implications for future generations of pupils, some of whom may leave school before learning to swim.
Since the ability to swim is potentially a life-saving skill, it is to be hoped the governors of Smithdon will explore all possible sources of funding, either to update to the existing pool or to replace it with a larger, more cost-effective pool.
If this is the intention, it is reasonable to expect an announcement to that effect from the governing body, but no such commitment appears to have been made.
I did ask Richard Bird, in his capacity as County Councillor for Hunstanton, if he could shed any light on the situation, but although he shares the concerns expressed above, it seems his is a lone voice at County Hall where the council appears to be completely indifferent when it comes to this particular issue.
If the intention is for schools in the area to book time at the Oasis it is worth remembering that the leisure pool opened 31 years ago and may not last as long as the Blue lagoon, leaving Hunstanton back where it was in 1968.