Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has backed calls to keep leisure centres open in Cornwall to help ensure people can stay fit and healthy.

The former Olympian, who originally hails from Plymouth, was the guest of honour at the opening of the swimming pool at Wadebridge Leisure Centre in the 1990s.

That centre is now one of four in Cornwall which are under threat of closure after operator GLL told Cornwall Council it could no longer afford to run them.

Along with Wadebridge, leisure centres in Falmouth, Launceston and Saltash could all close. The hydrotherapy pool at Polkyth in St Austell could also be axed.

Campaigners against the closures say that leisure centres are important in keeping people fit and healthy and swimming pools also play a vital role in helping children in Cornwall learn to swim.


Sharron Davies has backed the calls for more to be done to ensure that the centres can remain open.

She said: “Covid has taught us we absolutely must look after our health better. Swimming is a wonderful sport for all from cradle to grave. Often providing exercise where others are not able to if older or injured.

“Children must be taught how to swim for safety reasons alone. It’s the responsibility of local authorities to look after the physical but also mental well being of its community and to do that we need leisure facilities and pools.

“Swim England have issued a report saying that by the end of this decade we will lose 2,000 pools if we carry on as we are, this is a crisis about to happen when death by drowning and obesity rates are rising.

“Please invest in better health, help to keep society active.”

Cornwall Council is currently undertaking public consultation on its leisure strategy and the future of the threatened facilities.

The council decided when it gave the contract to GLL to run its leisure centres that it would do so to reduce the council’s budget for leisure services to zero.

It now says that it wants to ensure that people in Cornwall will be able to access a leisure centre within 30 miles of their home. They state that this will be possible if the centres close.

GLL has said that it has been severely impacted by the Covid lockdown which saw all leisure centres forced to close. It also says that the five facilities under threat of closure have been running at a loss and that membership levels need to improve considerably to make them viable.