The Lido in Cheltenham has been a community facility since 1935 but as well as providing a swimming pool and landscaped grounds for the residents of Gloucestershire to enjoy, its connections to the rest of the world are wide and various.
During the opening ceremony of the lido in 1935 six saplings were planted in the grounds which were donated by the Isle of Elba which is situated off the coast of Italy and famous for the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte. During the Second World War thousands of American troops who were stationed in the area preparing for the D-Day landings and made great use of the pool. The Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie was brought to the lido by local dignitaries to witness the splendour of Cheltenham’s facilities.
More recently we had the pleasure of hosting Team Malawi’s swimmers leading up to the 2012 London Olympics and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and now we have another international connection with a member of staff who has developed a strong link to the far away islands of Fiji.
We speak to Callum Drummond who has been introducing Bula Batiki Coconut Oil to the UK.
So when did you start working for Sandford Parks Lido?
I started working for the Lido in 2010 as a 16 year old, and am now in my final season aged 23!
How did you end up going to Fiji?
I first went to Fiji with a charity called Think Pacific, where we went to Batiki island, teaching in the local primary school and coaching rugby. As part of the project, I lived with a local family and have gone back to visit them every year since! It was from this desire to help my family that inspired me to start Bula Batiki.
How did you get into coconuts?
I first had the idea for Bula Batiki Coconut Oil when visiting the family I lived with when volunteering in 2012. I had been looking for a way to create a better income for the island and selling coconut oil seemed the best way to do so!
What is the main difference between Fiji and the UK?
The main difference between Fiji and the U.K. would most probably be the mind-set of people. The Fijians are so happy, so welcoming and smile to everyone that they see. Even though they may have less in terms of possession, they have huge hearts!!
What are the plans for the future?
My future plans for the coconut oil is to be able to sustain the income for Batiki Island all year round, and reinvest the profits back into the island in order to develop housing, healthcare and education on the island. Long term I really hope that we can reach out to other islands near Batiki to be able to offer the same opportunities for them!
Find out more about Bula Batiki at www.bulabatiki.co.uk