The Friary Grange Leisure Centre pool

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A Commonwealth games medallist and current British Swimming team coach called for Friary Grange Leisure Centre to be saved.

Mel Marshall who is national lead coach for British Swimming said it was extremely important that youngsters have the chance to participate in sport.

A meeting on 7th October is set to decide the future of the pool which is under threat.

The Friary Grange Leisure Centre pool

Lichfield District Council had announced plans to shut the site from April 2020 but was forced into a review of the decision when thousands signed a petition.

The campaign to save the centre has now been supported by Mel Marshall, who appeared at three Olympics and has won six Commonwealth Games medals.

Mel said: “I want to urge the council to get behind not closing the pool.

“In terms of the journey for participation athletes it’s becoming more and more difficult for swimmers.

“If we look at some of the biggest risks in this country it is health, it is obesity it is heart disease and in terms of swimming as an activity, it is one of the most fun things you can do.

“It is also one of the only activities which exercises all of the muscles and gives you a great foundation in life for fitness. All the athletes I work with at this level attribute their successes to the opportunities through their childhood – to have a platform, to have a swimming pool.

“From a participation point of view we should really be encouraging kids to get involved and get active and swimming is one of the best ways to do that.

“I think it’s a real tragedy if we as the developed world cannot look to provide these opportunities to people.”

“A devastating effect”

The fight to save Friary Grange Leisure Centre has previously been backed by Olympic gold medalist and swimming world record holder Adam Peaty MBE.

He said: “The closure of any sports facility around the country can have a devastating effect on local sports communities that rely on those facilities to teach and inspire future generations and to stay healthy.

“Sometimes closures are made for economic reasons, but I would urge any council to consider all the benefits of keeping facilities open before making these tough decisions.”

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