School makes waves for pool centenary

The swimming pool is celebrating its 100th-year anniversary. (S)
The swimming pool is celebrating its 100th-year anniversary. (S)
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Ripon Grammar School will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of its swimming pool with a special centenary celebration and a £50,000 cash boost.

The school has raised concerns over the future of the pool in recent years after North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) withdrew funding when the air conditioning system needed an urgent update.

But more than £50,000 has now been committed to installing the essential air handling units necessary to heat the pool and keep condensation down to a minimum.

“It is a very expensive investment in what is a very valuable facility,” Ripon Grammar School’s headmaster Martin Pearman told the Gazette.

The pool’s original hole was dug out with the help of the school’s pupils, mainly boarders, back in 1913, which involved several months of backbreaking work after school hours.

When it was first opened, the 64x26ft pool, known as the swimming bath, was unheated, untiled and in the open air, but still popular with pupils. It was not until 1960, when building works began in preparation for the arrival of female pupils, that a pool roof and tiles were added and swimmers began to enjoy more comfortable conditions.

Since then, the pool has been used by pupils on a daily basis for everything from coaching in competitive techniques, survival, life-saving and water fitness to galas and water polo events.

The pool is also hired out to local swimming groups and many primary school children enjoy swimming lessons at the Ripon Grammar School Swimming Academy each week.

Jenny Bellamy, president of the Old Riponians’ Association, is inviting past pupils and friends of the school to attend the summer reunion, where pupils will be on hand to give tours of the school with various sporting activities taking place.

The pool will also be open for those wishing to indulge in an afternoon dip.

A silent auction of sporting memorabilia will also be held and all money raised will go towards pool improvements.

Auction items will include framed swimming hats signed by Olympic gold medallists Rebecca Adlington and Ellie Simmonds, signed photos of Tom Daley and Ripon Grammar School’s own Olympian, Jack Laugher, a Leeds Rhinos signed rugby ball, a signed Leeds Carnegie rugby shirt and a signed photograph of Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

l The event takes place on Saturday, July 13. Bid forms can be downloaded from www.oldriponians.org.uk and handed in or posted to the school in a sealed envelope before July 12 or on the day