A POPULAR dales swimming pool is appealing for volunteers to help ensure the facility opens on schedule for the summer season– and to ensure its long-term viability.

The Stanhope Open Air Pool, in Weardale, which is approaching its 45th anniversary, is aiming to open on Saturday May 25.

But the team of volunteers that runs the site desperately needs more members to help get the pool ready and to work on securing its future.

Pool manager Ruth Haynes said: “We had over 10,000 people visit the pool in 14 weeks in the last season.

“We are a charity with very limited funds and everything that is done is voluntary.

"The only people that are paid are the lifeguards. Everything else is one on people’s goodwill.

“It has been disappointing to see the number of volunteers dwindling over the last couple of years.

“Our lease is starting to run out and we are looking to get that renewed, but for that to be viable we need volunteers."

The current committee took over running the pool in 1997 and is chaired by Ruth’s father Julian Haynes.

She added: "At moment we have a small committee and a small band of volunteers.

“We have finished pressure washing the main pool and there is some maintenance needs doing, because a lot of concrete on the side is starting to pull away.

“Any pool is given a life of 30 years and we are coming up to 45, so it is showing its age.

“There is painting in the changing rooms to do and the showers need cleaning and resealing.”

During their pre-season spruce up, committee members reluctantly decided to remove the slide which went into the shallow end of the big pool because it was becoming wobbly with sharp edges and deemed beyond repair.

As the group's priority is to revamp the facility, the slide cannot be replaced but a fundraising campaign has been launched to raise £1,700 for a replacement.

Donations can be made online at gofundme.com/stanhope-pool

Anyone interested in volunteering can email info@stanhopepool.co.uk or visit the pool's Facebook page or website. Alternatively, volunteers can help with jobs onsite such as weeding, painting, cleaning, plastering and tidying between 10am and 4pm this Saturday and Sunday.