A HORSHAM woman once instrumental in raising 10,531 pounds to build the Horsham War Memorial Pool is shocked it could be demolished.
Betty Penny, nee Meagher, was one of four Wimmera women, aged between 18 and 23, given the task of raising money to build the Olympic-size pool.
In 10 weeks in 1955, Mrs Penny as Queen of Wool, Queen of Wheat Beverley Cameron, Queen of Sport Judy Brownbill and Queen of Commerce Pam Keady raised more than $600,000 in today’s currency.
Mrs Cameron, who raised the largest total of 3125 pounds, was crowned queen at Horsham Town Hall in what is said to have been the biggest event the hall has ever seen.
A draft Sport and Recreation Strategy 2013-18 plan, released Monday last week, has recommended the pool be demolished.
Mrs Penny said the pool was supposed to be an ever-lasting monument for those who were killed during the Second World War.
Wilson Bolton donated the land on the corner of Firebrace Street and O’Callaghan Parade where the pool was built as a community memorial.
It was dubbed one of the finest civic gestures made in Horsham.
“While we were fundraising, people said Horsham would have the war memorial pool for the rest of its days and that is what we want,” Mrs Penny said.
“The pool is just so important. I often sit down there, watching the kids playing and having a good time.”
Mrs Penny said the region banded together to raise the money during tough economic conditions.
The queens hosted balls and raffled a new Ford Prefect for five pounds a ticket.
“We just did what we could to raise the money,” she said.
“Even though there were the four of us raising money, there wasn’t really any competition because we knew all the money was going straight to the pool.
“It was the best thing I have ever done.”