PULL for the pool: Soham’s fire men to raise funds for a new school swimming pool

THE BURLY firemen of Soham will be straining every muscle when they pull their 12-ton fire engine through the village streets later this month, to raise cash for the school swimming pool project.

Planning permission for the new indoor pool has just been granted - so everyone in the community is now being asked to get involved.

“We are hugely grateful to the fire men for getting on board and supporting us,” said Sarah Newman, vice-chairman of the St Andrew’s Swimming Pool Association.

The charity fire engine pull will take place on Saturday September 25 - the same day that Soham celebrates its pumpkin fair. The fire engine will be dragged from Wetheralls School to St Andrew’s School, starting at 12 noon, with money collected in buckets along the route.

The indoor pool - expected to cost in excess of �75,000 - is a joint venture between both schools. Sarah added: “We have about 900 children in the two schools, if each child now manages to raise �45, we will reach our fund raising target. If you look at it in those terms, it is achievable.

“Hopefully by the end of October we can start approaching building companies to get some quotes. We very much hope that people in Soham will offer their labour and skills, so we can make this a real community project.

“We hope there are plumbers, bricklayers and electricians out there who will give their expertise for nothing, if we buy the materials; that sits nicely with the idea of the Big Society.

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“We will also be applying for grants to support the fund raising we have already done; and would love to hear from any local entrepreneur or philanthropist who would like to get involved.”

The previous swimming pool was condemned in February of last year; but it hope the new indoor pool will be accessible all year round. Sarah explained: “We will develop an association, so families who have primary school children can join for a fee; that will include an expectation that they will man the pool at weekends and after school; we will plan for them to have the necessary training.”

There are also plans for the pool to have solar panels, so it can generate its own power.

Sarah said: “Now we have planning permission, I hope the people of Soham will see this is a real project, and it is going to happen.”

The Association has already managed to raise �33,000 in just 12 months. Anyone wanting to donated to the pool fund can give cash on the day of the fire engine pull; hand in money at the reception of either school; or contact the committee through the web-site.