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National Lottery winners help restore Ilkley Lido to its blooming glory

A team of green-fingered National Lottery winners from across Yorkshire and the North East have been getting creative to help restore the historical and magical Ilkley Lido to its former glory.

The Lido, which dates back to 1935 and is one of only 127 Lidos remaining in England, brings joy to up to 4,000 visitors a day during the busy summer months.

It was once a spectacle of colour and glorious flower blooms – but the Lido is now surrounded by grassland.

Inspired by a picture of the Lido from the 1930s, the team of National Lottery winners have stepped in to recreate the spectacle which adorned the Lido at that time. The winners plan to put their best gardening skills to the test and bring further joy to the local community and the 150,000 visitors who enjoy the facility each year.

The team of National Lottery winners, who between them are worth more than £16M, spent a day building planter boxes to line the driveway from the café to the Lido, filling these with colourful flowers, in addition to creating an abundance of hanging baskets to put on display around the café area.

Sarah and Aldan Ibbetson, from Leeds, who won £3.1M in 2002, frequently visited the Lido when their children were young and they were among the team of National Lottery winners supporting this transformation.

Sarah said, “This is such an amazing local facility.

“The outdoors is so important, fresh air and the opportunity for children to get to love the water and learn to swim at the same time too is brilliant. There can be nothing better. We frequently brought our children here and have so many happy memories. It is wonderful to be back here, bringing colour and creativity and restoring the Lido to how it would have looked in its heyday!”

Darren and Kate Donaghey, from Newcastle, won £1M in 2018. They have two children with autism and added that being outside and around water really helps both of their children.

Kate said, “There is something very relaxing about being around water.

“This is such a magnificent and very beautiful facility, and it is wonderful to be a part of helping to bring the Lido back to its former glory for future generations to enjoy and benefit from.”

Joining Sarah and Aldan and Kate and Darren were: Gary Henry, from County Durham, who won £4.4M in 2008; Susan and Michael Crossland, from Mirfield, who won £1.2M in 2008; Trish Emson and Graham Norton, from Rotherham, who won £1.7M in 2003; Elaine and Rob Leason, from East Riding of Yorkshire, who scooped a £1.4M share of an £18.2M syndicate win in 2005; Alex Best, from Leeds, who won £1M in 2018; Elaine Thompson, from Newcastle, who won £2.7M in 1995 and Margaret Storey, from Baildon, who won £1.4M in 1998.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, from Bradford Council, which is responsible for the running of the Lido, is the lead for the Healthy People and Places Portfolio.

She said, “We are so grateful to all the National Lottery winners for coming along and helping to bring some colour and brightness to the Lido.

“It really is a fabulous facility which benefits so many people – both locally and from further afield too who love to travel to experience the outdoor water.

“We are proud to have one of the last remaining Lidos in England and look forward to welcoming all of our regular visitors back this season – and hopefully lots of new visitors too.

“It will certainly be a very special and “colourful” welcome this 2023 season thanks to all of these wonderfully creative National Lottery winners!”

The Lido was designed by Archibald (Archie) Skinner – Ilkley’s surveyor and water engineer at the time. It opened in May, 1935, as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V. It has remained open since, between May and September every year. It was originally designed with a large shallow area for children to encourage them to learn to swim and to benefit from the heat of the sun. The deep area was suitable for water polo and there was also a diving board and a small baby chute. These later had to be removed to adhere to health and safety legislation. In its heyday it was considered to be one of the largest heated pools in the country.

It resembles a very recognisable but somewhat unusual shape – the cross section of a sliced mushroom – the fact the pool is not traditionally square as is found with most Lidos, also adds to its architectural interest and rarity.


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