A MAN has written a book in memory of a well-known local sportsman to raise funds in an effort to keep Bingley Pool open.

Bingley resident Alan Cattell, who has written five history books about the town and surrounding areas, has written Bingley Baths - A Lasting Legacy.

The book details the history of the pool before and after its official opening in 1928. The book retails at £6.99 and all the profits will go to the Friends of Bingley Pool, who are trying the keep the pool open for the community.

“People had to wait 61 years to get a swimming pool,” said Alan. “At the time people were saying ‘it’s ridiculous we have to go to Shipley or Keighley. So why don’t we have our own pool?’”

Mr Cattell said if Bingley Pool were to close now, “we could find ourselves in the same situation”.

In addition to wanting to help the Friends in their efforts to keep the pool open, Alan decided to write the book in memory of his friend Barry Watson, a local sportsman who died last year.

Mr Watson was from Bingley and used the pool to swim 300 lengths a day to train for his record-setting swim of the English Channel in August 1964.

Mr Watson swam from Cap Gris-Nez in France to Dover, a 22-mile journey, in nine hours and 35 minutes. Mr Cattell said this set a world record, which stood for 18 years.

“Barry had stamina, and if he set his mind on getting somewhere he would get there if he wanted.

“He was a very gentle guy and was quite revered locally. He did a lot to keep swimming going in the area.

“If Bingley wasn’t his local pool, Barry might not have learned to swim.”

Mr Watson is also well known is the athletics community and he and Mr Cattell used to watch Alistair and Jonny Brownlee train in Leeds.

And Jonny, along with Marcus Dearden, co-chair of the Friends of Bingley Pool, each wrote a foreward in the book.

Mr Dearden, who is also the new Bradford councillor for Bingley, said: “The building has been in a state of disrepair due to lack of investment. It’s just got worse because falling plaster from the ceiling over the pool area means they can’t open it.”

He said although the building had been earmarked for closure, the Friends of Bingley Pool have been committed to keeping the pool open. However, he said a September date for a community asset transfer of the pool is now up in the air due to the condition of the building.

Bingley Baths - A Lasting Legacy is available from Luscombes, Stationery Cupboard and Five Rise Locks Cafe, all in Bingley, and Woodbank Garden Centre and Nurseries in Harden.