William suggests charity to protect swimming pools vulnerable to closure


The Duke of Cambridge has suggested threatened UK swimming pools might be protected by an organisation similar to a charity he heads which safeguards green spaces.

William discussed the issue during a Buckingham Palace garden party when he chatted with senior figures from two organisations which rely heavily on pools for their activities.

The second-in-line to the throne told representatives from the English Schools Swimming Association and the British Sub-Aqua Club that he would look at an idea similar to the Fields in Trust body, he supports as president, and get back to them.

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Stewart Nicklin, 34, president of the English Schools Swimming Association which William supports as patron, said: "He actually was very interested in looking at a large issue both our organisations have - the closure of swimming pools across the country obviously with the large financial crisis a lot of councils find themselves in.

"So we were discussing a possible way forward to be able to safeguard the facilities."

He added that something similar to Fields in Trust was suggested, an organisation that supports parks and green spaces by protecting them for people to enjoy in perpetuity.

Sophie Heptonstall, 38, technical group leader for the British Sub-Aqua Club which has the duke as its president, highlighted another issue associated with closing pools.

She said: "Pool time's at a premium because pools are closing and so actually they don't want clubs in the pool at (peak) times, so we're getting pushed back to really late, which makes it difficult to get younger members in."

The Duke of Cambridge meeting with guests
The Duke of Cambridge meeting with guests

Ms Heptonstall said about William: "He said he'd think about something like the Fields in Trust and he'd get back to us."

On the lawns of Buckingham Palace the Queen hosted thousands of guests who were invited to enjoy tea in her garden.

The head of state wore sunglasses - for the second time in recent weeks when attending a garden party - and carried an umbrella following forecasts of thunder storms.

Other members of the Royal Family attending included Princess Eugenie who wore a dark dress and matching hat which was decorated with the word "Love".

Princess Eugenie at the garden party
Princess Eugenie at the garden party

Eugenie is due to marry her fiance Jack Brooksbank in the autumn and appeared to be making an emotional statement with her headgear.