'Emotional experience' as couple reopen swimming pool to the public

Brookmeadows House swimming pool

Sarah McLean and Ian Marsh have invested £35k in the swimming pool at Brookmeadows House in Swafield near North Walsham. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah McLean

A labour of love has seen a couple refurbish and reopen a north Norfolk swimming pool - six years after the facility had closed to the public.

Brookmeadows, where small groups pay to enjoy exclusive use of the 10m pool, closed in 2016 after its then owner Rob McLean fell ill.

The facility, which is part of a house in Swafield, near North Walsham, had sat empty and unused for six years until Mr McLean's daughter Sarah McLean, and her husband Ian Marsh, bought the property last year.

Ms McLean, 60, said: "After my dad passed away, the house was becoming derelict. I was working in Surrey and when Covid hit, I had an idea we'd make a life change, and I bought out my brothers and sisters to buy dad's house."

Brookmeadows House Swafield

Brookmeadows House, in Swafield, which used to be owned by sheepdog handling legend Rob McLean until his death in 2019. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah McLean

The couple moved to Norfolk in spring last year. Since then, people have told them how they used to swim in the pool when they were children and they have asked whether or not it would open again.

"It's been a labour of love," Ms McLean said.

The couple have invested £35k on refurbishing the pool which involved cleaning the tiles, repairing leaks and tracking down hard-to-find parts.

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The house itself was built in 1988 with the pool following a couple of years later.

Mr McLean, who was famous for his feats as an international sheepdog handler, first opened the pool to the public after a swimming coach, who was teaching adults how to swim, rented the facility.

Rob McLean, Norfolk sheepdog handler, with his collie, Tom. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Rob McLean, Norfolk sheepdog handler, with his collie, Tom. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

It remained open for almost 30 years and was the site of happy memories for many local residents.

"It's been an emotional experience to buy my dad's place. This is a place he really loved," Ms McLean said.

"There's a sense of balance in us coming back here.

"My son had my first granddaughter. It was just brilliant to see her in the pool where he'd been as a little boy and where I'd been as a young mother."

Brookmeadows swimming pool

Brookmeadows swimming pool, in Swafield near North Walsham, has reopened to the public after a £35k refurb. - Credit: Sarah McLean

Ms McLean is a HR director for a number of small to medium sized businesses while Mr Marsh used to run a sports therapy clinic in San Francisco for 20 years.

A one-hour slot at the pool can be booked online and costs £28 for up to four guests (£3 for each additional person up to a max of eight), with a half hour gap between sessions for cleaning.

Brookmeadows swimming pool

Members of the public can pay to enjoy Brookmeadows swimming pool again - six years after the facility closed. - Credit: Supplied by Sarah McLean

For more information, visit the pool's website at www.brookmeadowshouse.co.uk