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Obituary: Cynthia Covey – Lymington sea water baths campaigner

A FAMILIAR figure in her colourful clothing, Cynthia Covey – who is credited with saving Lymington’s sea water baths – has died at the age of 82.

As a young mum Cynthia would take her three children down to the pool for a splash about. As they grew up the facility became a focus for Cynthia, who swam there almost daily, making many good friends as a result over the years.

Son Patrick said: “It was her life over the summer. She loved it there and could not wait for it to open each year. She loved swimming, lying in the sun and meeting friends. When it closed down, she was very upset.”

Cynthia was described as a "colourful character and a bit of a hippy"
Cynthia was described as a "colourful character and a bit of a hippy"

The oldest open-air sea water baths in the UK, the lido dates back to 1833.

Fearing it would close for good, Cynthia immediately sprang into action and formed the Friends of Lymington Sea Water Baths campaigning group.

Patrick, who became secretary of the group, said: “Mum was relentless – she was determined the baths would be saved. I did all the social media side for her, including setting up the Facebook group.

“We also involved the A&T in the campaign, and mum would be out lobbying whoever she could and delivering leaflets.”

Cynthia’s campaign succeeded and Lymington & Pennington Town Council agreed to stump up £8,000 to refurbish the lido.

“She was absolutely delighted when they reopened,” said Patrick. “She was over the moon she could go to her favourite place again.”

In 2012, the baths became Grade II listed and, four years later, £50,000 was spent on further works to preserve them for future generations.

Cynthia continued to use the baths for most of the rest of her life until ill health forced her to stop.

Cynthia as a young mum
Cynthia as a young mum

Born in Cirencester to parents Vera and Edwin Johnson, who ran a pub, Cynthia moved to the US for a short while after marrying an American man.

She returned to settle in Lymington, where for a time she ran Wellworthy’s working men’s club.

She then became a dinner lady at Lymington Infant School, where she was loved by both staff and pupils.

Patrick said: “Mum was a single mum and worked hard to bring us up well. She was a very colourful character; she was a bit of a hippy and loved to wear really bright clothes which she would wear when she went on long walks in the town and along the lanes.

“She became a well-known sight in the town and people often stopped to talk to her.”

In later life Cynthia’s health sadly deteriorated and she developed pneumonia after a fall.

She died earlier this month. Her funeral is to be held at New Forest crematorium in Stem Lane, New Milton, on 27th April 10.45am, followed by a wake at The Bosun’s Chair pub Lymington.

Anyone who knew Cynthia is welcome to attend and donations in her memory can be made to Water Aid via Diamond & Son Funeral Director in Lymington.

Cynthia is survived by her three children: Patrick, Danny, Donna.

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