At the turn of the 20th century, a private swimming pool grandly stood in the grounds of Reigate Priory Park. But the Edwardian luxury became derelict after the First World War.

A public campaign in the 1920s led to the pool being adopted by the borough council of the time and it was turned into a paddling pool for infants.

But the pool closed again in September 1939 with the outbreak of war, along with many other places of public entertainment.

But large numbers of venues quickly reopened because it was felt it would be good for morale.

Many assumed that in 1940 the reopening of the paddling pool would follow suit, but this did not happen. And a campaign to have it functioning again started in the summer of 1941. This would have failed had it not been for the personal intervention of Winston Churchill's wife, Clementine. The Churchills knew the area well, as they were often weekend party guests at the Priory, then owned by the former Admiral of World War One, Earl Beatty and his wife.

From then on the pool served the children who visited Priory Park with their families until the end of summer 2001.

Grandmother Susan Walker, from Reigate, has been working with other parents and grandparents to keep the pool open. She has been amazed by the support she has received, and one woman's story has made her determined not to give up the fight.

She explains: "A lady in her 90s telephoned. She told me that her son had been killed at the battle of Imjin River (Korea, 1951) aged 19, and that he had adored Priory Park paddling pool when he was an infant. I worked out that he would have been five years old in 1937. So, assuming he played in the pool when he was, say, three, the pool was active in 1935.

"She gave me her wholehearted support. I promised her two things: one, I would not reveal her name and two, I would not give up the fight to have the pool reopened."

l Reigate and Banstead Borough Council says maintaining the pool is too expensive and it would have to employ a qualified attendant on site at all times. It added to bring it up to current health and safety standards it will cost £39,000 to repair.

The council does have plans to build an interactive water feature for children in Priory Park, but this is dependent on a £5million heritage lottery bid.