Tucked away in the centre of the town, Topsham Pool was the result of a huge fundraising effort, first by a small group of tireless and determined individuals and then by the whole community. During the 1970s huge mountains of waste paper were stockpiled and sold, and thousands of glass bottles were collected and returned. Countless jumble sales, carnival floats and many generous donations gradually pushed up the total. A Sports Council grant topped up the fund and in 1979, after several setbacks, lots of work and laughs, a decade of fundraising culminated in the grand opening. Olympic gold medalist David Wilkie did the honours and officially opened the pool and even swam a few lengths.
Topsham Pool has always been run by a committee of volunteers and in 1979, while jubilant that it was finally finished, the committee had already begun to worry about bringing in enough money to keep it open!
Several years on and the worries are broadly the same. There are a few new faces to help out, but the pool is still funded entirely from entrance fees and bad weather has an impact on revenues. Fingers are always crossed for fantastic summers.
Recent years have seen some of the fabric of the pool such as undergrond pipework coming to the end of its life and in need of replacement; we need to install renewable heating to reduce our bills. Challenges lie ahead for the volunteer committee and the wider community if the pool is to have a successful future.
Topsham Pool is still at the heart of this little town of the banks of the Exe, where the whole community and visitors can get together to enjoy swimming in the open air - today just as in 1979!
It's over thirty five years since the pool first welcomed the people of Topsham.
But many people who will visit this year won't realise that the pool isn't a 'council-run' amenity, but was founded by the people of Topsham and was the result of years of fundraising. Read more below >>>