Usually I wouldn’t have been invited or even welcome on the Opening Day at Hathersage Pool but this year things were very, very different.
The atmosphere building up to this special day had been very tense; the new boiler had been installed and was performing really well, the water was warming up to a wonderful 82 degrees but the weather forecast was predicting huge amounts of snow – not the spring sunshine that everyone had dreamed of for the opening of this very special pool.
Volunteers were drafted in the day before to help Mike and his team of staff complete their final preparations – pathways were cleared, the pool was made pristine and children built snowmen to be ready to pose for photographs on the Big Day; but there was an air of anxiety regarding the weather and the big question was: “Would the event have to be cancelled”?
The day finally dawned – the weather forecast had been right – the deep snow had indeed arrived and continued to fall. It was time to make the Big Decision …………
Well, the enthusiasm of the staff was not to be beaten! Mike managed to drive from Matlock but got stuck in Grindleford where he was rescued by Jez Wilman; and the rest of the team struggled in wearing warm coats and snow boots. Facebook had a record number of hits from people desperately hoping to take a wintery dip and by 8am there were already 30 people waiting in the queue. Three keen swimmers even arrived on skis!
What community spirit! Hot chocolate and home-made soup were served and delicious cakes had been baked for the hungry swimmers coming out of the pool. Local band “Mill Stone Grit” provided great music from the bandstand – including a hit by Snow Patrol (ha ha!). Matt Norris demonstrated Triathlon coaching and children and adults, including Hathersage Parish Councillor Peter Mander, rolled in the snow before jumping into the lovely warm water. Many passing visitors popped in for a hot drink claiming that it was certainly the “ In Place” to be! Swimming is certainly good for the spirit and we are so lucky to have this wonderful facility in the heart of our village.
We saw over 400 visitors on the day and we were seen on BBC, ITV and Sky News and reached 17 local, national and international newspapers and radio stations. Season tickets are proving to be very popular – they now also can be used to get very generous discounts from local traders (details on the website).
Well, that’s it from me – I don’t suppose I will still be around for the first Late Night Swim on Friday 19th April but I would certainly like to be invited back for the Opening Event next year!!
Best wishes, Frosty x