The Olympic Torch got a warm reception as it made its way through South Leeds this morning. Crowds came out in Hunslet and Beeston show their support and take the once-in-a-lifetime chance to glimpse the “eternal flame”. But one group had mixed feelings. The SPLASH group have been campaigning for South Leeds Sports Centre, and especially its swimming pool, to be re-opened.
The SPLASH banners drew good support from others in the crowd and passing motorists, many of whom honked their horns or shouted good luck messages.
Beeston resident Steve Johnson from SPLASH said “In this Olympic year they are spending £14 billion on a three week event, I think they should spend more on the bottom of sport. Otherwise, where are the next Olympians going to come from? South Leeds Sports Centre was a good facility used by the local community. They tell us to go to the John Charles Centre, but that’s an international pool for elite athletes, it’s not for families teaching their kids to swim.”
Asked what he would say to the Olympic organisers, Steve Peacock from Holbeck said “Give us some money! Where’s our legacy? The cost of the cavalcade this morning would have paid for the re-opening of the centre. The Council’s got to do something to get the people of Beeston and Holbeck back on the sporting scene.”