A group of sea swimmers from Brixham has produced a naked calendar in support of the Shoalstone Sea Water Pool. “We swim every week of the year and the benefits of our cold water dips, both physical and mental, are enormous.” says Jane Rudge, January Mermaid, “It all started as an informal group who met on Breakwater beach and has now grown into a really close group of friends who support each other. Yes, it’s cold in the winter but it’s also great fun and the benefits are substantial.”
Jenny Harriman, August Mermaid, said “We went to see Calendar Girls at the Brixham Theatre and afterwards someone said ‘We could do that’ and so the idea was born. We wanted to raise money for a worthy cause and the Shoalstone Sea Water Pool was an obvious choice. The pool is a great asset to Brixham and is in desperate need of money for repairs and maintenance.”
There are 12 mermaids whose ages range from 40 to 73. They come from a variety of backgrounds including education, nursing, the care sector, broadcasting, event management and writing. “Sea swimming has proven benefits for physical and mental health.” says Jo Taylor, November Mermaid. “We can arrived at the beach stressed but within ten minutes we are relaxed, chilled and laughing. It’s a great tonic and it’s free.”
Today many people are stressed whether it’s because of the economic pressures, social pressures or simply the demands of a family or job. A short dip in the sea with friends can really help. Torbay Council recognises the huge benefits such groups offer and has generously supported the charity project with a grant from the Community Fund. The council hopes the Brixham Mermaids’ Calendar will inspire others to establish similar groups to boost well-being, health and fitness in Torbay.
The calendar was photographed in and around Brixham by Trevor Taylor. “The Mermaids were wonderful to work with and entered into the spirit of the whole project. I was glad to be asked to shoot the calendar and all credit to the ladies who bared-all tastefully in support of the Shoalstone Pool. Many of the shots were taken very early in the morning when no one was around. It was very cold but they didn’t grumble. All credit to the Brixham Mermaids.”
The 2024 Brixham Mermaids’ Calendar is available from the Breakwater Bistro in Brixham and costs £7.95. Proceeds go to Brixham’s Shoalstone Sea Water Pool.
Shoalstone Seawater Pool is navigating its way toward a new season with the addition of a bright new Compass.
Structural problems at the pool keep raising their heads. In addition to the compromised North West Wall, the tides have recently created a void beneath the pool. Tidal pressure has created a crack through which the funneled water is spouting through. This causes concern, as when the tide goes out we lose water and cannot control the correct depth for safe swimming.
David Thomas, Operations Manager for Shoalstone is working around the clock to try to capture a dry moment in which to repair the crack in the hope that It will stop the flow. “It certainly is a challenge but we are doing everything we can to be able to open up for the summer season on June 1st . Our priority is to make it safe.”
Major structural works are crucial to save Shoalstone. Save Shoalstone from the Waves Fundraising campaign began in earnest this year with a crowdfunding page https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-shoalstone-from-the-waves and grant applications.
Stage 1 of the programme will cost £500K – a big goal to reach for.
The new piece of art work on the Compass Deck was inspired by the art deco building. Mark Bell, a local artist, has been busy with his masonry paints to redesign the compass. Newly settled in Brixham with his family, and having previously run the Lucky 7 club in Paignton. He and his wife Sarah wanted to support Shoalstone in a creative way and bring some colour to the deck.
Mark says “This is such a stunning location and to paint here was a joy, despite being distracted by the dolphins! I was really pleased to be able to work on the compass and meet many of the Shoalstone volunteers all trying so hard to keep this gem of Brixham afloat. I hope everyone who loves Shoalstone will enjoy it this season”.
See www.shoalstonepool.com on how to Donate, Become a Friend and Volunteer.
Shoalstone Seawater Pool, Brixham is now bustling with summer activity.
Brixham College recently held their end of term party down at the pool, an annual tradition back in full swing after a lapse during Covid years.
Shoalstone Trustees continue to meet engineers and gather costings for the crucial work needed to save the pool from the elements. Grant applications are being prepared and all fingers are crossed that we will be able to raise money to be able to instruct Phase 1 of essential works to begin before the next wave of storms. So far this season no serious movement has been identified on the North West buttress from the force of tides and the threatening crack seems to be holding.
Volunteers continue with their much valued work behind the scenes to clean, maintain and raise awareness of Shoalstone’s plight wherever they can within the local community. Fund raising events such as the annual Twilight Swim on August 9th at 7.30pm continue to be fun and bring in much needed donations.
Donations creeping up the thermometer.
A new thermometer shows just how much we have collected so far with our ‘Save from the Waves’ campaign and how much further we have to go! Every penny donated goes towards saving the pool for the next generation. (Pic of lifeguards showing how far we have to go attached.)
Our on-site shop is now open.
In addition to our on-line shop on the website, we have Shoalstone merchandise on-site too. So, as well as hiring a deck chair, you can browse through T shirts and mugs and plan for next year with our very own Mermaid Calendar!
All we need now is another spell of glorious weather and the continued support of locals and visitors alike. We thank you all for your support and hope to see you down at the pool. See our website for all fundraising events and Crowdfunding link.
A report from consultant engineers confirms that the North Western buttress is compromised and, within the next 5 years or a major storm, we could see the total collapse of Shoalstone Seawater Pool, in Brixham.
As a result, the Trustees of Shoalstone Seawater Pool have launched our
SAVE FROM THE WAVES fundraising campaign.
£500,000 is urgently needed to deliver major works on the buttress and prevent any collapse.
We have less than 5 years to act, as a set of major storms could increase the risk of collapse further and shorten this timescale. Losing this buttress would be the end of the pool and the end to a unique part of the UNESCO recognised Torbay Geopark. If we commission engineering works now, we can still save the pool and secure it for future generations as a safe seawater pool.
Shoalstone Seawater pool has been a sparkling space in Brixham since 1896 and is one of the few such pools left in England. Built into natural rock, Shoalstone has been used for bathing since the Victorian era and is still a favourite spot for locals and visitors alike, commanding wonderful views of the Bay.
We now need ‘All hands to the wheel’. Help us preserve the pool for future generations. How you can help : Join us as a volunteer, our fundraising target is huge and we need all the help we can get. Generously support our fund raising events throughout the year. Raise awareness of our plight.
Focus on the Future – Save Shoalstone now!
What a season Shoalstone Seawater Pool in Brixham has had. 2022 will be remembered for the wonderful hot summer and a great team of lifeguards.
Great news – we are now a Registered Charity. Charity status means that we can now apply to more funding streams to keep our bank balance healthy and enable us to carry out all the ongoing maintenance needed to keep the pool open and safe. However, to prove that Shoalstone is a much-loved asset to the community we have to officially show proof of our support i.e. our Membership. So please, if you love the pool as we do, go online and become a Friend of Shoalstone Seawater Pool – https://shoalstonepool.com/friends
Our first AGM as a Registered Charity will be held at the Berry Head Hotel, on November 15th at 7.00pm.
We need new Trustees, new members and all the support possible to ensure that the pool contributes to many more memorable summers in Brixham for locals and visitors alike.
A whoosh of sprats! September brought another first for us, when a shoal of sprats came over the wall on the high tide and filled up the pool leaving a 2 foot deep mucky mess of little fish, oil and grit. It was all quite alarming and sad, but volunteers rallied to Dave Barter’s urgent appeal on Facebook and, within a short while, a team of volunteers aided by the Brixham Trawler Agents were in the pool, knee deep in yuk -, shovelling and sweeping.
As the mess of fish could not just be pushed out into the sea due to environmental instructions, crates had to be shovelled and filled, before being barrowed up from the deep end to the level bathing area where a trolley provided by Brixham Trawler Agents waited. This trolley then took the filled crates to a truck that finally was able to take 2 tons of fishy mess down to an official Environmental Disposal unit.
Fundraising Heroes. In our time of need we got a lot of support from online donations, a sponsored swim, Jewsons and a share of funds raised at an afternoon garden party and Hog Roast disco.
Now in October, the Operations team has discovered that through tidal wear, a section of the pool has been undermined. This means that it is not safe for swimmers at the moment and crucial work needs to be carried out.
New 125 year Lease Luckily this month we received the news that Torbay Council /has granted Brixham Town Council 125 years lease for the pool.
This means the pool is safe from any drastic legal changes and has been recognised as an asset to the Bay. So, with confidence, we can continue raising funds for structural maintenance projects.
All in all quite a season!
For more information see www.shoalstonepool.com
facebook.com/shoalstone; or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org