A COMMUNITY that came together to pool its resources celebrated “the start of a new chapter” in its history last weekend.

Lordsfield Swimming Club formally reopened the Overton village swimming pool at a special ceremony on Sunday, July 14.

The event marked the culmination of years of hard work from volunteers and fundraisers to secure the future of the facility.

Two years ago the pool had closed after Overton Primary School, where the facility is located, advised it could no longer afford its share of the costs. But having agreed a new lease with Hampshire County Council earlier this year, Lordsfield Swimming Club is back in business as the sole tenant of the historic pool.

On a major date in the nation’s sporting calendar – with the Cricket World Cup final, the Wimbledon men’s single final and the British Grand Prix all taking place – BBC Breakfast’s sport presenter Mike Bushell made the dash down to Overton to join the celebration.

Mike had been at Wimbledon the day before and Lord’s Cricket Ground just that morning but made it back in time to cut the ribbon and share a few words. He said: “This is a fantastic facility. They are getting rarer and rarer and the size of this one is fantastic.

“The impact it will have will not just be about today – it’s about when you’re old and when you have children and grandchildren.”

The pool was built in 1959 before Stan Stott, father of club trustee Janice, founded Lordsfield Swimming Club in 1963. Since then, generations of villagers have learned to swim and enjoy the pool and now will continue to do so thanks to the hard work of the club’s volunteers.

A 25-year lease was signed earlier this year, with various groups contributing time and money to the cause, including Editorial Office, in Overton, which put up £5,000 to help secure the lease.

Lauren McCann, chair of the club’s trustees, said: “Today marks the official opening of the next chapter in the history of the pool with it being for the first time in its history under the sole management of Lordsfield Swimming Club.

“The hard work starts now. We can only succeed with the commitment of volunteers all helping to share the load, from serving on the committee and being a qualified volunteer poolside, to staffing the desk and making the tea, testing the water, raising funds – the list goes on.

“Overton is a remarkable village in terms of how much goes on, its clubs and socieites, and most notably, its sports and recreation clubs and facilitates, mostly run by committed volunteers.

“The pool is special. It’s perhaps the only facility which can and is enjoyed by all generations together, from ages 0-95.

“The pool is a real community success story and shows what people can do when they come together for a common purpose.”