The Opening Ceremony of West Wight Swimming Pool by Earl Mountbatten

THE OPENING CEREMONY OF WEST WIGHT SWIMMING POOL – 14 JULY 1978
BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET, EARL MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA, GOVERNOR AND LORD LIEUTENANT OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Earl Mountbatten

Although the pool was nowhere near completed we had to go ahead with the opening ceremony. Luckily the weather was kind to us – we were after all, on a building site!

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We had a marquee for invited guests, for refreshments following the ceremony and we even had flower arrangements on the tables. The dais, complete with microphone, was made up from stage blocks borrowed from West Wight Middle School.

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The VIPs assembled, Lord Mountbatten arrived, said some well-chosen words, complimenting everyone on the wonderful achievement. He then presented Clare Griffin and Sally Pitman, representing West Wight Swimming Club with the Barry Trophy (an Isle of Wight award) for services to swimming. Ron Smith then invited Lord Mountbatten to open the swimming pool, which involved turning on a tap with a hosepipe connected, as a token gesture.

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Lord Louis Mountbatten presenting the Barry trophy to Clare Griffin and Sally Pitman with Shirley Miles and Ron Smith

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Many of us who had spent the previous evening frantically trying to complete the grouting were keeping our fingers crossed that the grout had dried overnight! The tap was then turned off very quickly. After meeting and talking to various people who had contributed to the project, Lord Mountbatten departed and we took down the bunting, dismantled the ‘stage’, took off our finery and got back to work!

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