THE call to rename the Bathurst Aquatic Centre in honour of the late John Manning and his wife Nina is gaining momentum, with more than 1200 signatures now collected in an online petition that will be presented to Bathurst Regional Council.
“Mr Manning” as he was known to thousands of children, managed the Bathurst Pool for 32 years before retiring in 1994.
He passed away, aged 90, in September and was pre-deceased by his wife.
Business owner Matt Irvine wants council to consider naming the aquatic centre in honour of the Mannings, acknowledging not only Mr Manning’s dedication to the city but also the involvement of his wife.
Mr Irvine floated the idea on social media and has since started the online petition which will be presented to council.
In the petition, Mr Irvine wrote that he “respectfully requests that Bathurst Regional Council consider naming the complex in honour of John and Nina Manning. Other alternatives could include naming individual pools within the complex for them, and any tribute should be determined in consultation with the Manning family, but a title such as The Manning Memorial Aquatic Centre may be considered appropriate”.
Mr Irvine said it was great the petition had resonated so strongly with the community.
He said many people had great memories of the Mannings and naming the aquatic centre in their honour was, he believed, something the people of Bathurst really wanted.
He said the petition wasn’t about forcing council’s hand, but evidence the call to honour the Mannings “had a groundswell of support”.
“The community applaud the idea, and if those in the decision making seats needed any evidence, here it is,” he said.
Mr Irvine said the on-line petition had generated many comments from all corners of the community, people who remembered the Mannings with great fondness.
“Everyone remembered them the same way, the comments are crystal clear images of what the couple meant to people.” He said the comments remember their incredible duty of care and intuition, having an eye for someone who needed a hand.
“Everyone remembered them the same way.”
Councillor Ian North, who knew the couple well, showed his support when the petition was launched, taking the idea to the Mayor and general manager of Bathurst Regional Council.
He said he hopes the matter will be ready to go before Council’s October meeting.