Memories from Tina Hughes


I can remember when the children of Freshwater only had the swimming pool at All Saints School to use. There were other pools in the area at local holiday camps but these were restricted to use by their visitors only.

It was mooted by some local people that we, the residents of the area, needed a pool of our own, and so the West Wight Swimming Pool project was started, money being the biggest issue. I remember that a lot of local people did different things to raise money, such as the SPLASH sales on Stroud recreation ground.


Mayor Mrs Jean Ainsworth handing over a cheque for £5,300 to the Chairman of SPLASH Ron Smith

My children, Rod and Helen, walked to Newport and back to raise money towards the pool and, guess what, they were offered lifts home by passing motorists. They, of course, refused and with grim determination finished the walk very tired and with big blisters on their feet.

The pool was eventually built, the changing rooms leaving a lot to be desired as they had ‘cardboard’ floors (not much good when you are soaking wet). The children came home with more mud on themselves than anything else but they had a swimming pool!


Eventually, when the inside work was completed, Brenda Coomber ran the cafeteria and had a nice hot cuppa for you when you finished your swim. She also, at times, manned the reception desk and took your money.

Swimming lessons run by the West Wight Swimming Club were great and at any one time there could be three lessons at varying levels going on. The curtainless showers in the ladies changing room were very basic and there were only two. Sometimes there were up to six people trying to shower at the same time – those were the days. Now we have the luxury of shower curtains!

The current West Wight Sports Centre has a fitness centre and many other activities available. There is also a small warmer pool for people with disabilities who are unable to use the main pool. Hoists are available for both pools for people who are unable to access the steps.

Local people are very fortunate to have the pool and all its facilities. I know we have the sea to swim in but the sea doesn’t offer the extras of computer use, line dancing and a gym for fitness. I was taught by Shirley Miles, who has the patience of a saint and helps all beginners to overcome their fears … I know because I was one of them.

Shirley’s comment: I have never been sworn at so much by one person learning to swim but it was all taken in good part and Tina now is a competent and regular swimmer.