The Abbey Meadow Outdoor Pool is about 50 years old, and has been open every summer but one since it was constructed.
Around 1980 it was threatened with closure but the first STOP campaign (Save The Outdoor Pool) bought a reprieve – literally, since the Abingdon Town Council generously agreed to pay a handsome subsidy to the District Council allowing the pool to remain open.
Early in 2005 the Vale of White Horse District Council suddenly announced they were going to close the pool and replace it with an "adult water feature", costing about £100,000, and they even set up a public forum as to what sort of fountains people wanted in the new feature!
A group of dedicated and regular swimmers, all of whom much preferred open-air to indoor swimming, decided they were going to fight this closure notice and set up the second STOP campaign. Articles and letters to the press followed, people signed petitions in the street, and there were visits to schools and meetings of Abingdon organisations. The Abingdon Herald joined the campaign and Duncan Goodhew, the Olympic swimmer, lent his support. The message got across and, crucially, Abingdon Town Council, after conducting its own research of Council Tax payers, voted a very substantial increase in their subsidy of the Pool, if the Vale would keep it open. This worked and the Pool was reprieved after one summer of closure. SOLL Leisure Ltd. were awarded a 5-year management contract (provided no serious structural repairs were found to be necessary) for the seasons 2006 to 2010 inclusive.
Having saved the Pool, members of the STOP campaign reinvented themselves as the Friends of Abbey Meadow Outdoor Pool (FOAMOP). Most of the original members remained and more were recruited over the years. With the imminent end of the 5-year contract, the Friends have become more active in 2010, with the aim of ensuring the future of the pool for at least another 5 years and hopefully much longer. They are liaising with SOLL and the two Abingdon councils, without prejudice, in order to make suggestions, from the Pool-using public's point of view, as to how this may be achieved. And, it should be said, the Friends would like to promote the Pool to be at the heart of the leisure activities in the Abbey Meadow.
If you would like to help in this work in any capacity, or simply wish to register your support, please send an email using the "Mail Form" or look up the "Contact Information" page for a phone number and postal address. There is not much time as the Pool's future will probably be decided in late autumn 2010.
The current members of the FOAMOP committee are:
Elizabeth Edgecombe (Chair)
If you would like to send a message to the committee please send it to:
· If you want to be kept in touch with our activities (no obligation), please give us your contact details.
· We undertake to respect your privacy.
Here is a link to a photo of the pool taken in about 1965: