Green-fingered National Lottery winners with £16 million restore historic lido its former glory
Green fingered National Lottery winners with £16 million in the bank have spent the day restoring an historic lido its 'breathtaking' former glory. Ilkley Lido in West Yorks is regarded as one of the best open-air pools in the country, but its grassland surroundings have been left looking 'threadbare' in recent years. But thanks to a team of lottery winners, it has now been transformed into an eye-catching spectacle of colour and glorious flower blooms. They spent the day building planter boxes to line the driveway from the café to the Lido and filling them with colourful flowers. Inspired by a photograph of the Lido from the 1930s, they also installed hanging baskets to put on display around the café area to recreate the scene. Duty officer Jodie King from the outdoor pool described the difference as 'breathtaking'. She said: "We were looking a bit bare, there was just grass around the grounds. There's a bit more colour now, it's more in bloom. "It used to have flower blooms within the grounds. I was taking a look at the pictures we have of it in the past and it looked amazing. "To have that link to the past with a modern twist is breathtaking." The Lido, which was built in 1935, is one of only 127 Lidos remaining in England and can attract up to 4,000 visitors a day during the busy summer months. The 46 metre-wide, mushroom-shaped unheated pool boasts views of the famous Ilkley Moors. The lido, with the changing rooms and cafe on its grounds, is a grade II listed building, noted for its unusual timber-framed vernacular style. Jodie added: "A lot of our older generation customers will have seen it when we had the flowers so it will be a great link to their childhood. "And it will breathe more life into the environment for the younger generation. "It's just a splash of colour but it makes a world of difference." Sarah and Aldan Ibbetson, from nearby Leeds, were among those helping out with the restoration as they were regular visitors when their children were younger. Sarah, who scooped £3.1M in 2002, 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." Elaine Thompson, 67, from Newcastle, who won £2.7M on her wedding anniversary in 1995, said: "I've had a brilliant time. "It's a beautiful place to come and people will see the flowers and the gardens and it'll be even more beautiful for them. "It's looking lovely now we've got the hanging baskets up. "I've always said it's not about the win, it's about what you do with it and it's great to give back. "I'm 28 years into the win and it's been a great 28 years. It's like one big happy family and not many people say no when they're asked to do something like this." Bradford councillor Sarah Ferriby: “It will certainly be a very special and 'colourful' welcome this 2023 season." The Lido was designed by Archibald Skinner, the town'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 between May and September every year since. Joining Sarah, Aldan and Elaine on the project 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. Margaret Storey, from Baildon, who won £1.4M in 1998. Darren and Kate Donaghey, from Newcastle, won £1M in 2018.