Today is a very proud and special day for Lenton as a community.
At 4pm today the swimming pool in The Lenton Centre will be officially re-opened, four years to the day after it was closed by Nottingham City Council in 2004. The story of the last four years has yet to written, but a lot has happened since. Lenton Community Association had the foresight to begin planning for the closure of Lenton Leisure Centre and its swimming pool at the end of 2003 and made up its mind early that it would lead a campaign to take over the management of the leisure centre. This finally happened in 2006 when the city council sold the building housing the leisure centre and the community centre to LCA for just £10. LCA transformed itself into a social enterprise and became The Lenton Centre.
One of the events planned as part of the re-opening celebrations is a relay race in which people who learnt to swim in Lenton Swimming Pool, from the oldest to the youngest, will pass on a baton in the form of a rubber duck. It struck me on Wednesday, when I took the picture of Carl, that the relay race is also symbolic of what has happened over the years since Lenton Community Association was formed in 1979 and local residents first succeeded in getting their very own community centre. Over the years, the baton of responsibility and vision has passed from one group of individuals to another. One person, Mairi Yuill, has been there throughout. It was Mairi who first got me involved in 1980, since when I have been involved on and off. Jenny Hills is another long time activist and it was under her leadership that we made the change from being a community centre to a social enterprise. Andy worked at the Leisure Centre forever and helped keep the pool mothballed and secure at a time when the City Council wanted it to reach a point where it could not be saved. He then came and joined TLC as its first member of staff and is a real Lenton hero, as is Carl, who became involved in 2004. He provided the campaign with added drive and did much to make today a reality. As I write this, my head is full of names of other people who have played an important part in bringing about today. I just hope that any history remembers them all.
By this evening I hope to have a few pictures of today's celebrations to share with you, but in the end I couldn't wait to blog about the occasion because I am proud of Lenton and the people associated with making today happen. I'm proud for Lenton, I'm proud for Carl, Andy, Jenny, Mairi and others, as well as the part played Susan and me.
It is pouring with rain outside as I write this, but today is a great day for Lenton and in my heart the sun is shining big and bright.
The equivalent of a fortnight's average rainfall is expected to deluge parts of the UK today as a miserable summer is followed by the first big storm of the autumn. Heavy rain and gusty winds are expected to sweep in from the Atlantic, with forecasters warning that some areas will suffer localised flooding.