THE prime minister has recognised two volunteers who have dedicated six years to saving Hilsea Lido.
Sabrina Richards and Helen Downing-Emms have been given the new Point of Light award by David Cameron – only bestowed on outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community.
They have been the driving force behind the revival of the lido and worked tirelessly to form the Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust, taking ownership of the pool from Portsmouth City Council.
This summer should see the lido reopen and offer public swimming sessions.
Sabrina said: ‘I’m so pleased that the team has been recognised, I can’t believe it.
‘It’s a fantastic tribute to all of the volunteers and everyone that has stuck with this project so far.
‘Over the years many people have spoken of their memories of the lido and their enthusiasm to see it return.
‘This is a huge effort by local people and a vast project, but we won’t stop until the job is done.’
And Helen added: ‘The work that everyone puts in is incredible and it’s things like this award that keep the team going and remind us all that we’re doing the right thing for the community.
‘We are both incredibly lucky to work with some fantastic people and have the true support of the community behind the work that we’re doing.’
The Trust has worked closely with Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who donated her £10,000 fee from the show Splash! to the group. She said: ‘There are many wonderful people who have worked to retain the Hilsea Lido for community use, but Sabrina and Helen have really devoted themselves to the project.
‘They have been an inspiration to me and so many others in rallying to this cause and made the impossible first appear within reach, and then to come to pass.’
Mr Cameron said he was ‘delighted’ to give them the award.