FREE swimming is finally available for children in Burnham.

After years of campaigns, proposals and promises children under the age of 17 will now be able to swim for free during the Summer.

The youngsters will still have to leave Burnham to do it but a new agreement has been reached to offer a free bus service and free tickets to the swimming pool at the Blackwater Leisure Centre, Maldon.

Burnham Town Council joined forces with Moat Housing - who made a substantual donation to the scheme - and Leisure Connection Limited - who run the centre under contract from Maldon District Council - to offer the opportunity throughout August.

Deputy Mayor Ron Pratt said: "My aim is to ensure the Blackwater Leisure Centre facilities are available free of charge to the children of Burnham during their Summer break.

"I am pleased that the council's new partnership will give many Burnham youngsters the opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled day.

"This initiative would not have been possible without the co-operation and administration of Leisure Connection Limited or the substantual donation from Moat Housing."

Tickets will be available on a first come first served basis from the Dengie 100 Sports Centre where daily ticket allocations will be issued.

Children who are unable to get to the centre can take advantage of a free return bus service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Residents have campaigned for a community pool in the town for more than 30 years.

And two years ago a £2.8 million project for a pool at St Peter's High School, Southminster Road received support following a campaign by the group Swim 4.

But until now no agreement had been reached regarding swimming facilities for the town due to concerns about cost.

And while many people are thought to still want a community pool in the town there is now something for the children during the summer - subject to certain conditions.

For more information contact the Dengie Sports Centre on 01621 784633.