HUNDREDS of people joined forces to stage a huge rally in protest at plans to close two local swimming pools.
Wigan, Leisure and Culture Trust have recommended to the council that community organisations take over the running of the facilities at Hindley and Tyldesley.
The move could potentially save the council half a million pounds in running costs, but if no-one steps forward, the pools would inevitably close.
Ward councillor Jim Ellis said: “I would say there were between 300 and 400 people at the rally.
“The fact that so many people are behind the campaign demonstrates that the council has no justification for shutting it.
“The council needs to reconsider what it is doing.
“People are passionate about this, but the question is, will we be able to make an impact on the council?”
Eileen Blake, who used to work at the Hindley pool, in Borsdane Avenue, is a committee member of the group set up to fight the plans SOS – Save Our Swimming.
She said: “Hundreds turned up, showing a lot of people are behind us.
“The pool has some of the best disabled facilities in the North West – we know of a disabled woman with six children who is very upset about losing the pool. She can’t get on a bus and take six youngsters to another pool in Wigan.
“Schools are not in a position to take the pupils to other buildings, because of the amount of time it would take.
“We have to seriously highlight that Hindley itself is being severely hit, as the day centre opening hours are being reduced and there are rumours the library is to close.
“The pools are next and when that closes, the leisure centre can’t survive.
“We feel there will be nothing left. It is criminal the way that Hindley is being punished.
“I don’t think having a community group run the pool will work, as for the public to be able to use it, we need volunteers to work seven-days-a-week, for five or six hours a day. We can’t do that on a voluntary basis.”