‘Alderney children at risk without swimming pool’

OLYMPIC swimming champion Duncan Goodhew has said the government of Guernsey would be culpable if a child in Alderney drowned because he or she did not get the chance to learn to swim while growing up.

Duncan Goodhew Handout Photo

Mr Goodhew said it was a glaring injustice that Alderney children did not have a public facility to learn to swim in, as children in Guernsey do.

Work on a charity project to build a community swimming pool in Alderney has ground to a halt because the trustees have run out of cash.

Volunteers raised more than £250,000 for the pool and the States of Alderney matched the sum.

But Alderney has made no formal approach for more money to finish the project.

Mr Goodhew spent a large part of his childhood on Alderney and visits the island every year in the summer, swimming off its beaches.

He said he felt compelled to speak up in case a child drowned because he or she had not learned to swim.

‘At some point a child will drown and I will feel responsible in some way for not bringing the matter up. How would I live with myself if something were to happen in Alderney?

‘If a child does drown, people in Guernsey should ask themselves a very serious question – should I have done more? The answer would be yes, particularly as Guernsey and Jersey have plenty of leisure centres, paid for by the States. Here we are in Alderney with none, trying to get one built through donations.

‘Children in Guernsey have opportunities that those in Alderney do not have. Alderney and the people of Alderney are under one bailiwick. It’s an absolute responsibility of Guernsey to provide that opportunity for Alderney children to learn to swim.’

Comments for: "‘Alderney children at risk without swimming pool’"


Shut up Duncan your talking absolute rubbish.


Shut up Biscay YOU'RE writing rubbish


Oh for heaven's sake! Alderney is surrounded by water. It has several safe sandy beaches where many thousands of Alderney residents have, over hundreds of years, learned to swim. What has changed? Are there hundreds of Alderney youngsters sitting at home waiting for the promised swimming pool ? No, they are all down at the harbour leaping off the walls into the clear waters of Braye beach. A pool would be nice but so would a better hospital, better Airport runway and better schools. Until we discover the place where all the money trees grow I suggest the good Mr. Goodhew sticks to swimming and leaves the legal advice to those qualified to give it.


Excellent response.

I would further suggest the reason Alderney has less facilities than Guernsey is the same reason why villages generally have less facilities than towns. It's simply a matter of scale and population.


PLP. No-one is suggesting that a full-sized, money gobbling replica of Beau Sejour should be provided in Alderney. Just that the modestly sized pool that has been largely built already should be finished.

Your point about villages and towns is invalid. Villagers can get in their car, or catch a bus, and go to town for a swim in a pool. Inter-island fares rule out that option for Alderney dwellers.


Or the locals could walk down the road to the sea?


Woodman - islands are different to villages but that doesn't invalidate the point one bit. The principle is that smaller communities cannot expect to have the same level of facilities as larger ones, whether they be islands or villages.

As Watcher has already pointed out, for an island as small as Alderney it does pretty well in terms of infrastructure. If size doesn't matter, why doesn't Sark or Herm have a hospital like Alderney?

Anyway, until no formal request for money has been made this debate is pointless. Surely a formal funding request should be the first step - not bleating to the local rag about a supposed injustice.


Well said Duncan, thank you. Of course we want a safe environment where our children can learn to swim. As part of the Bailiwick this should surely be a facility supported by the states, as are the pools in Guernsey.


Duncan is talking bull. Not only have generations learned to swim quite safely in the sea, but learning in a pool does not prepare them for more challenging sea swimming. On the contrary, it can make youngsters over-confident. That said, Alderney should have whatever facilities it can afford from local taxation. Can they run to an inflatable paddling pool?


What do you mean by "local" taxation? Our local taxation is the same taxes as you in Guernsey pay. The same taxes that have paid many millions towards Beau Sejour and the many excellent school pools that you have in Guernsey. Unfortunately, it is not possible for any Alderney resident to access those excellent facilities on a regular basis, despite having contributed to their upkeep through their taxes.

Education is one of the "transferred services" that in 1947 Guernsey agreed to provide in exchange for Alderney residents paying taxes and duties as applied in Guernsey. All Guernsey children have the opportunity, as part of their education, to learn to swim in a safe, properly run swimming pool. Are Alderney children any less deserving of that opportunity?



Yes, Alderney residents may pay the same taxes as Guernsey residents but I venture to suggest that as an Island Alderney benefits greatly for such an arrangement. Where else in the world would approximately 2,500 people benefit from their own harbour, airport, school and hospital - not to mention their own government. Not many ! It is an unfortunate fact that as expectations grow communities like Alderney face an uncertain future, with a shrinking working population the facilities you currently enjoy will become increasingly unsustainable. I would keep your collective heads firmly below the parapets rather than bleating about swimming pools.


I rather doubt that the Income Tax paid in Alderney is quite the same as we pay in Guernsey. On the last few occasions I have been there we noticed they are moving markedly towards a 'cash is king' economy.

Given that the rest of the world is moving the other way towards 'cashless' I found it suspicious. Together with local prices being understandably high I have formed a mind picture of people with wads of cash ripping each other off and forgetting to tell the Tax Office about some of their deals. Rather like the film 'Whiskey Galore', if anybody remembers that. It would be interesting to see how the per capita declared income compares between the two islands. Less, I bet - and the reason is not 'poverty'.


What a stupid comment. Our rate of taxes, ALL taxes not just income tax, is precisely the same as those paid in Guernsey.

Who are "they" that you claim are moving towards a "cash is king" economy? That is a sweeping and insulting generalisation but then that's pretty much what I'd expect from this forum's resident troll. In any community you will find a few who evade/avoid tax. I'm pretty sure that Guernsey has its fair share of the black economy. Let's face it, your entire economy is based on the business of doing the taxman, somewhere, out of money.


This is a stupid and quite frankly rabble-rousing comment. In the Corbynesque world Goodhew inhabits, unicorns graze on the Buttes and lady mice wearing red heels with bows sing and tap dance down Victoria Street. Yes - it is sad Alderney can't afford an olympic-sized pool but generations of kids, myslef included, learned to swim safely in the sea.


Oh dear, now who's 'rabble rousing' ? No, not an Olympic sized pool, something much more modest, if you care to look http://www.swimalderney.org.

So much has already been done, and mainly by fundraisers and goodwill, just need a push to finish the job.

Such bitterness....and ignorance.


I'd say the key statement in this article is that "Alderney has made no formal approach for more money to finish the project."

There's an old saying, if you don't ask you don't get.

Le Goubert


And only someone like Hitler would refuse to fund a swimming pool.


Not sure about that Le Goubert. Adolf did like a wallow in the pool


So let's get this clear. Because "Alderney is surrounded by water" and "has several safe sandy beaches" it doesn't need a pool? But Guernsey, despite being surrounded by water and having several safe sandy beaches, does need pools?

And despite Alderney's taxpayers having contributed towards Guernsey's pools, when it's suggested that Guernsey should reciprocate, albeit on a much smaller scale, it's met with abuse? And this is despite Alderney having raised around a third of the total cost for its pool through private fundraising. How much of the money for building and running Beau Sejour was raised in this way I wonder.

Duncan is right of course, but it's not just needed for the young, all ages would benefit from the pool, in particular the elderly who wouldn't feel safe in the sea. But no, Alderney is told that it should keep it's head below the parapet.

We're all part of the Bailiwick, so how about how about some support for once?


How the hell have Alderney children survived all these years?

If so important, why don't the States of Alderney pay for it out of the gambling licences?


Where is the parents' responsibility in this? It is for parents to teach children to swim, the same way as they should teach them to cross the road safely, ride a bike, use money correctly, etc.

It's irresponsible of parents to expect school teachers to do their job for them! It's also a waste of resources. Swimming lessons should not be on the teaching syllabus.


Are you suggesting that Guernsey's several excellent school pools should be closed? I suppose that would save all us Alderney and Guernsey taxpayers quite a bit. Should be popular with the previous posters who oppose publicly funding the finishing off of the Alderney pool. Or is their objection just pure spite?


Where on earth does it say it's all down to the teachers? The school would have priority over the pool during school hours to use as they chose, but out of these hours it will be open to all, so we can enjoy taking our children swimming, and swimming ourselves. Why are people so against it? I don't get it.


Duncan, Why not set up a JustGiving page to find the balance of funds needed? Use your fame and social media presence to promote it and you will soon have the money. I'm sure the Guernsey Press will help you promote the idea.


Only slightly off topic, I hear that in Sark the Stocks hotel makes its pool available for swimming classes. If true, kudos to the hotel for that sort of community spirit.