Published: July 21, 2008
New Burnham-On-Sea Swim and Sports Academy opens for business

Celebrations are underway at Burnham-On-Sea's new Swim and Sports Academy today (Monday July 21st) as the facility opens for business.

Sara Cox-Conklin and Mark Conklin have spent six weeks modernising the Berrow Road facility since taking over its lease in May after months of uncertainty about its future.

Dozens of guests attended a special re-opening event at the pool on Sunday afternoon when Burnham Swimming Club members, pictured above, joined in the celebrations alongside other swimmers, pool supporters and council leaders.

During a ceremony led by Cllr Neville Jones, who led the fight to save the pool earlier this year, the Singing Children of Africa performed the aptly chosen song 'I Have A Dream' in front of the guests, who included Sedgemoor District Council Chairman Dennis Davey, Sedgemoor District Council Leader Duncan McGinty and Burnham's Mayor Peter Clayton and Mayoress Jo Burridge. Sara and Mark thanked a long list of supporters who had managed to secure the building's future.

Four young swimmers who had won a competition to swim two lengths of the pool - Samuel Manley (7), Phoebe Fleuriot (7), Dianna Njeri (12) and Charlie Atwood (10) - diving into the pool for the first time to officially launch it.

The pool opened to the general public for the first time at 6am on Monday (July 21st) and its new facilities include fully modernised changing rooms, a new sports clothing shop called Multisport Retail Kiosk, and a new cafe serving Starbucks coffee.

The new balcony area above the pool has also undergone a £25,000 refurbishment and now boasts a row of exercise bikes and a range of exercise sessions including pilates, yoga, body toning and spinning classes.

A series of taster classes will be run during August with a wider schedule starting in September that will include water activities such as water aerobics and aqua jogging. For more details, visit the academy's website, or phone 01278 785909.

Trying out the new exercise bikes were Teresa Harvey of Sedgemoor District Council, pool campaigner Tom Ashton, pool boss Mark Conklin, and Sedgemoor District Council Chief Executive Kerry Rickards

Delighted Burnham swimming pool supporters Tom Ashton and Mayor Peter Clayton at the launch of the new Swim and Sports Academy

From left to right: Cllr Anne Bown, Cllr Dennis Davey, Sara Cox-Conklin, Cllr Peter Clayton, Mayoress Jo Burridge, with Deputy Mayor Cllr Derek Cooper and his wife plus Cllr Neville Jones. Kneeling are competition winners Samuel Manley (7), Phoebe Fleuriot (7), Dianna Njeri (12) and Charlie Atwood (10).

Samuel, Phoebe, Dianna and Charlie clambered onto the starting blocks as they got ready to complete their two lengths.

The Singing Children of Africa performed the aptly chosen song 'I Have A Dream' during the opening ceremony

Among the guests were Reverend Graham Witts of St Andrew's Church, Cllr Dennis Davey and Cllr Arthur Thorogood


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