OTLEY’S campaign to open a new lido is within touching distance of winning £25,000.

The Friends of Otley Lido’s (FoOL) bid has, thanks to receiving 37,875 public votes, reached the final round of judging for the Aviva Community Fund.

The group, which wants to create a state-of-the-art, heated outdoor pool at the former lido site in Wharfemeadows Park, was one of 602 organisations that entered the Health and Wellness category.

The lido project will now be judged against a set of criteria to check if it qualifies for an award, with a decision due on January 31.

FoOL Chair Leonie Sharp said: “We’re absolutely delighted. The committee worked incredibly hard and had fabulous backing from our supporters and the wider community.

“We were so excited to realise we came first in the whole of the UK in our category in the popular vote. This just demonstrates how important the restoration of our outdoor pool is to our community when so many people rallied around to get the vote out.

“To achieve almost forty thousand votes is incredible and we’d like to thank everyone. It was a hard run contest against the other 601 organisations and we were tracking this on a daily basis.

“The first week we were doing really well and then we started to slip. So we regrouped and worked out what we needed to do and called on all our supporters, including the public and local businesses, to help push this through the final weeks.

“We had a leaflet printed by one of our long standing backers, Phillip Longthorn, and he came across from Whitby to help us - with his friends in tow - saturate the town with leaflets.”

Among the comments submitted in support of the bid was this from Otley resident Ken Carter: “I used to spend almost the whole of the summer holidays at the lido, as a boy into my mid-teens.

“(It) was incredible value for money for the endless hours of enjoyment that was had there, regardless of the weather conditions.”

Leonie added: “We are sure we’ll be able to demonstrate we meet each of the necessary categories for receiving funding.”

To find out more about the Aviva bid visit https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/4-1979 .