Mike Cutts, a key figure in the development of Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool, died last month at the age of 75. Here his family and friends pay tribute.
Following a successful career with BT Mike moved his family in 1990 from Hertfordshire to Cirencester. As a passionate swimmer, he was pleased to find the Open Air Pool facility on his doorstep. Wishing to become more involved in supporting the local community he joined the pool as a trustee and later became Vice-Chair and then appointed Chair in 2007.
During this period Mike came to realise that this historic facility originally built in 1869 was suffering from many ongoing and costly maintenance issues with deteriorating infrastructure which in the longer term would lead to the closure of the pool. His vision was to safeguard the pool for the community with a total redevelopment which would require substantial funding and commitment on the part of the trustees.
Mike was just excellent in meetings with potential donors – his down to earth attitude, his knowledge of the many young people whose only summer break was around the poolside and his absolute integrity in terms of the business of the Pool – made it much easier to access money. With the trustees persuaded to support Mike’s proposal, efforts commenced on securing initial funding from the Town Council, and St. James Place.
Trustees, who at that time were funding other projects in town beneficial to the people of Cirencester, wished to learn more about this project after being in contact with Mike. Completely won over by Mike’s passionate desire to keep the Pool going – and his clear vision for the future, they agreed to a substantial financial award, which gave the confidence to move forward with Mike’s proposal.
Following a design competition, an architect and a full consultants team were assembled and the hard work commenced.
Phases 1 and 2 were completed between 2015 – 2018 and upon completion of these Mike retired to spend more time with his family. The final phase remains to be completed and since retiring from his position as Chair in 2018, it has continued to be Mike’s wish to see this final stage carried out by the current trustees of COASP.
Throughout his time as Chair Mike carried out hands-on engineering, electrical, plumbing and chemical dosing system work. He was thoughtful – capable and totally committed to the history of the Pool – and had a determination to ensure that future generations would continue to enjoy the luxury of outdoor swimming.
Mike and his voluntary role as project director through all stages of the building process was exceptional and when the moment came for the Pool to either be consigned to history – or to carry on into the foreseeable future the right man was available and willing, at no small personal cost.
Sadly Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019, followed by Motor Neurone Disease in January 2022 and passed away in May 2022. Such a huge personality with a humble heart, forever a student and generous teacher. He will be immensely missed by all who knew him. Funeral details, Friday the 17th of June, 14:00pm at St Peters Church Stratton | Cirencester | GL7 2LR. Donations in memory of Mike to be made to the Motor Neurone Disease Association and/or the Alzheimer’s Society can be sent c/o A Slade and Son, 35 Dyer Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.