David Roberts CBE
Lido Ponty, the National Lido of Wales - which is due to re-open this coming weekend - has been given the seal of approval from the UK’s most decorated male paralympian of all-time.
David Roberts CBE, whose gold medal tally equals that of Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, now lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife Agata and their young son Dylan.
But the family made a trip back to Rhondda Cynon Taf and to David’s home town of Llantwit Fardre over the Easter period – and could not resist popping into Lido Ponty.
“I could not believe it, we had a great time there. I honestly was not expecting that. When we walked through the doors it was like stepping back in time,” said David, a professional swimmer who has represented Wales and Great Britain.
“Although we now live over 1,000 miles away, I speak to my parents regularly and they always keep me up to date on what is happening in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
“When I heard that the National Lido of Wales had opened in Pontypridd, I just had to visit, and my recent trip back home was the perfect opportunity to do so,” added David, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 11 and was encouraged to participate in swimming activities as a form of physical therapy.
Lido Ponty, the National Lido of Wales, is situated in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park in Pontypridd and will be open from 7.30am until 7.15pm, seven-days-a-week from May 27 until September 10.
Online bookings can be made up to seven days prior to your visit
Limited spaces will also be available daily at the Reception Desk. Please note: Bookings cannot be made over the telephone.
David Roberts first represented Wales at the age of 13, with his first major competition for Great Britain coming at the 1999 European Disabled swimming Championships in Germany, where he won all four of his races.
“Lido Ponty has maintained all of its historical past but has also managed to bring it bang up to date, with all the very latest modern technology. We had a brilliant day out as not only are visitors able to enjoy the water, but there is also the exhibition area, Waterside Cafe and Lido Play,” said David.
“Dylan, who loves swimming anyway, had a whale of a time and we will most certainly be making a return visit whenever we can.”
Cllr Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Culture, said: “I am delighted that David Roberts CBE, our most decorated paralympic swimmer, and his family, had such a great time with us at Lido Ponty, the National Lido of Wales.
“It is the only facility of its kind in Wales and we attract so many visitors each year. We are so looking forward to re-opening to the public on May 27 and anticipate yet another busy, unforgettable summer season.”
David, who was granted the Freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf by the Council in March this year, took part in the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney and returned home with three gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze.
At the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, he went on to win four gold medals in the 50m, 100m, 400m and the 4 x 100 metres relay and silver in the 200m.
Adding to this tally, he also won four gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing and part of the gold medal-winning Great Britain freestyle relay team that broke the world record by seven seconds.
He was also selected to carry the Team GB flag at the closing ceremony, watched by millions of television viewers around the world.
David was awarded the MBE in 2005 for services to disabled sport and collected his award from The Queen at Buckingham Palace. In 2009 he went back to Buckingham Palace to collect his CBE, awarded in the New Year Honours.
He was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Cardiff on June 5, 2009, and has since addressed the Human Rights Council in Geneva on London 2012 and the rights of people with disabilities.
Children under the age of 16 are again able to swim FREE at Lido Ponty, with a minimal charge of £1 for adults and £2.50 for activities.
As well as the opportunity for lane swimming and more relaxed swims, and a Splash Pool for the little ones, all the popular attractions will be back for the summer - including the fun inflatables, Aqua Scooterz, Aqua Peddlerz and Water Walkerz.
Lido Ponty is Wales’ premier outdoor water attraction for all the family, offering something for all ages.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the original opening of the lido at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park on July 30, 1927. The £6.3m Grade II listed outdoor family water attraction officially re-opened to the public on August 29, 2015.
The Waterside Café, which is open all year around, offers many mouth-watering delights on its menu for all ages and culinary tastes.
Lido Play, the childrens’ adventure park which is also open all year around, captures the imagination of younger visitors as they explore the swings, slides and tunnels in this locally-themed attraction celebrating our industrial past.
Lido Ponty re-opens daily for the 2017 summer season from Saturday, May 27, to Sunday, September 10.
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Posted on Thursday 18th May 2017