LEGENDARY rock and roller Wilko Johnson has joined an Echo-backed campaign to save a much-loved seaside paddling pool.

The guitarist, an original member of Canvey rhythm and blues band Dr Feelgood, called on Castle Point Council to reverse its decision to fill in the pool, by the Concord Cafe, Canvey, which he remembers swimming in as a boy.

He has joined 5,000 adults, 700 children and 88 local businesses that have signed protest petitions.

Wilko, 62, who was born and bred on Canvey, said: “I remember paddling in the pool as a child and I’m with the people of Canvey on this.”

The seafront means a lot to Wilko and Dr Feelgood, as they are famous for coming from what they call the Thames Delta. They have often compared Canvey’s position on the estuary to the original home of the blues, the Mississippi Delta, in America.

The lyrics to several of Wilko’s songs, including Down By the Jetty and Paradise, romanticise about Canvey seafront.

Castle Point Council claimed in January it would cost £58,000 to repair the pool so it was up to health and safety standards. However, residents have criticised this saying nobody has been injured in the pool since it opened in the 1930s.

Coastguards claim it would be more dangerous if the pool was removed, as children are safer in the pool which is walled-in and relatively shallow, compared with the open sea.

Wilko, who now lives in Westcliff, knows all too well how dangerous swimming in the sea can be.He nearly drowned as a 12 year old, when he went swimming out to sea, off the Concord Cafe. He said: “I remember trying to swim back to shore and realising I wasn’t getting anywhere because the tide was too strong. Luckily, a man saw I was in trouble and rescued me but I was very lucky.”

Lea Swann, 55, from Canvey, who is leading the campaign, said: “I’m absolutely delighted Wilko has come on board.” Castle Point Council would not comment on the pool, while it is negotiation with Canvey Town Council over its future.