More than 750 sign swim ban pe­ti­tion

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

MORE than 750 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion to save a swim­ming club that has been go­ing for 123 years.

The pe­ti­tion, which has 777 sig­na­tures, was set up af­ter Mac­cles­field Am­a­teur Swim­ming Club (MASC) was banned from hold­ing lessons at Mac­cles­field Leisure Cen­tre.

Ev­ery­body Sports and Recreation (ESAR), a trust that runs the coun­cil’s leisure ser­vices, told the club it can no longer teach there, and ESAR will in­stead run its own lessons.

With the club forced to stop some lessons by April 1 and the rest by April next year, chair­man Jan­ice Whitelaw is still urg­ing as many res­i­dents and pool users as pos­si­ble to sign the pe­ti­tion.

She said: “We got 537 sig­na­tures on Sun­day at Trea­cle Mar­ket. Peo­ple were queu­ing up to sign and said it was ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing we had to stop teach­ing.

“One lady even of­fered us a hand­ful of money but we said we weren’t look­ing for do­na­tions and just wanted to keep teach­ing.”

She added: “I was de­lighted with the num­ber of sig­na­tures. The sup­port was amaz­ing.

“I’d just like to ask more peo­ple to sign as soon as they can.”

Stephen Wil­liamson, whose three sons, Gabriel, 12, Tyler, nine, and Finn, seven, at­tend the club, said he was ‘ex­tremely an­noyed’ at the club clos­ing. He said: “The chil­dren are re­ally up­set. I’ve been tak­ing them there for a year and a half.

“I can take all my sons, who are at dif­fer­ent lev­els, at the same time and the teach­ers are ex­cel­lent.

“Gabriel was too scared to even get in the wa­ter in his school swim­ming lessons but within a cou­ple of weeks at MASC he was lov­ing it. I’ll have to take them some­where else now as ESAR’s lessons are too ex­pen­sive.”

He added: “An or­gan­i­sa­tion like ESAR should be help­ing lo­cal clubs in­stead of re­mov­ing peo­ple’s choices.

“More ex­pen­sive lessons will mean some par­ents won’t take their kids which means you’re stop­ping chil­dren from learn­ing to swim, which isn’t safe.”

You can sign the pe­ti­tion at Mac­cles­field Leisure Cen­tre on Tues­days from 7pm-9pm or at the post of­fice at Spring Gar­den on Hurds­field Road, and the United Re­form Church in Park Green.

Cheshire East Coun­cil said the club could hire the pool at sub­sidised rates but not hold lessons.

Ed­die Gar­vey

●● From left: Tyler Wil­liamson, Neive Mad­di­son, Libby Mad­di­son, Gabriel Wil­liamson and Finn Wil­liamson are among the young­sters who go to Mac­cles­field Am­a­teur Swim­ming Club

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