Reply from the current Swimming Pool Committee
From Nick Wilding et al
Friday, 9 August 2013
We read your potted history of the swimming pool project on Hebweb (See HebWeb News, 2 Aug) and felt that we should firstly write to reassure you that nobody involved as a volunteer on the committee today was a member at the time when the Victoria Road site was under consideration. Our chair Councillor Dorothy Sutcliffe was a trustee, but had asked to resign and thought at the time that she had been replaced. She did not serve on that committee and, as you will see, it is thanks to her that there is still a charity in existence today. Indeed, as a committee we have done our best to rescue a project that to all intents and purposes had disappeared into oblivion. We will explain.
One or two of you might be amazed to know that the committee was originally formed in the 1890s, one reason why many local people glaze over when you mention the project and treat everything you say with a look of incomprehension, or even sympathy! To tell the whole story would entail a sizeable book. One reason that we joined with such alacrity was the realisation that if we failed we should only join a legion of well-meaning people who had failed to bring this about for nearly a century and a quarter!
There is little doubt that mistakes have been made by countless different groups of people over the years since the committee was set up. You may all remember seeing in the Hebden Bridge Times a story about the unfortunate decision in the earlier 1990s to employ a professional fund-raiser, an exercise which ended up costing so much that it was more than they were able to raise in donations. In fact, there was very little left for the swimming pool itself. These are undoubted mistakes, but they were made with the best of motives. There was nothing untoward. Trustees at the time became increasingly depressed.
Sometime around the turn of the Millennium, the trustees decided that they had had enough and called a public consultation meeting in the council offices. They had decided that if nobody came, they would fold the whole project. As it happened, many interested people attended and they ended up with a new chair, a new treasurer and fifteen new members. They agreed to find new trustees for the project. Some years later, one of the original trustees, Councillor Dorothy Sutcliffe, wondering why there had been nothing about it in the newspaper for some years, started making enquiries and discovered that the new committee had disbanded and all the important documentation in storage. She discovered that no new trustees had actually been appointed and contacted her colleagues to tell them that in the absence of anyone else, they were still responsible for the charity.
There followed a great deal of work for the trustees, sorting out everything with the charity commission, including the paying off of debts on loans from Calderdale and Hebden Royd councils. The Charity Commission confirmed that trustees were not obliged to hold a public consultation on the matter of selling the land at Victoria Road, but it was important that if the swimming pool committee charity disbanded, the money would need to be used by the charity commission to fund another similar project, somewhere in Calderdale, not necessarily in the Calder Valley. If that had been the case, after over a hundred years of fund-raising, this project would have been completely lost! However, it was about this time that Councillor Richard Marshall, founder member of the Mytholmroyd Community Association in the 1960s, suggested to Dorothy that the community centre car park might be suitable. It seemed an appropriate location and this is where planning permission has just been granted for it to be built.
Mistakes have certainly been made over the last 123 years, but we are now very close to being able to proceed with this building and a long-cherished dream of many people will finally be realised. It would be unfortunate indeed if some of the best-intentioned failures of the past, referred to in your history of the project on Hebweb, caused people to refrain from donating to this worthwhile project today. We have already raised a million pounds and are close to achieving our target of 1 million, two hundred thousand pounds. In fact, if it happened that everyone in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd were to donate just £1 each, we would now be able to achieve our goal. Please look at the artist's impressions and consider contributing to what we personally feel will provide the people in this area with an invaluable recreational facility, worthy of the 21st Century.
If things work out as we hope, do come and enjoy a good swim next year!
Councillor Dorothy Sutcliffe, Chair of the committee,
Councillor Richard Marshall, Treasurer/ Secretary
and Nick Wilding.
From Sarah Crowley
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Well done to all concerned for working so hard on this project. I am looking forward to having a local swimming pool.... it will be a fantastic asset for Mytholmroyd. If I win the lottery this week I will donate the rest of the funds needed:)
Donating funds to the Pool Association
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HebWeb News - Mytholmroyd Swimming Pool: Calderdale approves plans (2 Aug 2013)
HebWeb News: Hebden Royd may finally have a swimming pool (March 2013)
HebWeb Forum: Swimming Pool update? (Dec 2012)
HebWeb Forum: Swimming Pool Plans/Mytholmroyd Community Centre (Jan 2011)
HebWeb Forum: Swimming pool plans (Sept-Dec 2010)
HebWeb News: Swimming Pool plans - comments sought (Sept 2010)
More coverage of the swimming pool issue on the HebWeb