100-year-old swimming club's bid to stay open

Members of Great Yarmouth Swimming Club

Candice Parr, 32, pictured centre, a coach at Great Yarmouth Swimming Club, with members Emily Howarth and Charlie Pickering, who are raising funds for the cash-strapped club. - Credit: Submitted

A swimming club on the coast established more than a hundred years ago is in danger of running out of money.

Great Yarmouth Swimming Club, established in 1885 and run by volunteers, normally holds sessions at the 25-metre Phoenix Pool in Bradwell and the facility at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.

Candice Parr, Great Yarmouth swimming club coach

Candice Parr, 32, a coach at Great Yarmouth Swimming Club. - Credit: Submitted

Swimmers pay a subscription fee every month, which helps the club cover costs for pool hire.

But Candice Parr, 32, a coach at the club, said: "Since lockdown, no subscriptions have been coming in.

"After the first lockdown, we started lessons again in August for three months," she added.

But coronavirus restrictions meant the club could have only four swimmers in a lane, as opposed to eight to ten.

Then came the second lockdown.

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Ms Parr said: "The club is running out of money. Hire costs are draining the money. If we don't get enough funds, we won't be able to keep up with the pool costs."

Emily Howarth

Emily Howarth is hoping to raise funds for Great Yarmouth Swimming Club by walking 50 miles in one month. - Credit: Submitted

Ms Parr started as a swimmer at the club 16 years ago.

"In normal times it's buzzing, with eight to 10 per lane. So it's just heartbreaking because I don't want the club to go under and stop, because all the children who swim with us have a hobby, it keeps them off the streets.

"Mentally it helps you. When I was doing my GCSEs it gave me a break," she said.

During the second lockdown, the club's members turned to other means for raising funds.

Ms Parr biked and walked 100 miles in ten days, while eight-year-old Charlie Pickering, from Bradwell, ran 52 miles in 30 days on a treadmill at his home.

Boy running on treadmill.

Charlie Pickering, 8, has been fundraising for Great Yarmouth Swimming Club. - Credit: Submitted

Charlie said: “It’s really important that the club gets support from sponsors so they can stay open. I love swimming and I would hate for it to close because of Covid."

To donate to the club visit its Go Fund Me page or click here.