Stockport Express

Hundreds turn out for swim club party

- ALEX SCAPENS alex.scapens@menmedia.co.uk @AlexScapen­sMEN

ASWIMMING club that began with the capacity for just 10 members celebrated its 50th anniversar­y with a party for more than 400 people.

Norris Bank Swimming Club marked the milestone with a bash at Stockport Rugby Club, in Bramhall, in a marquee already in place for the Headlander Festival.

The club almost folded five years ago when its then base at Stockport School’s swimming pool closed because it was too expensive to repair.

But it moved over the road to Stockport Grammar, where members aged from three to 14 meet three times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Margaret Struggles, a teacher at the club and its former chairperso­n, said: “We are still going strong and it was fantastic to see so many people from the club’s past, we tried to get in contact with as many as possible.

“It is the way the club is run that has made it successful. We are all volunteers and if you are still at the club after 14 you can become a helper and at 16 we will fund training to become a helper.

“We are non-competitiv­e and concentrat­e on children having fun in the water and being safe.”

At the party there was a barbecue, fairground, DJ and circus workshop with one of the original found- ers, Jim Hadfield, the guest of honour who also drew the raffle.

The club began in 1965 as Norris Bank Primary Swimming Club with up to 10 youngsters having a one-hour swim on Saturdays at Reddish Vale baths.

It was open to pupils from Norris Bank Primary School only and they had to leave after taking the 11-plus exam and finishing at the school.

But these rules were relaxed as the club was running with a debt of £60 and it was decided that school leavers could stay on.

The club was also opened up, first to other schools in the Heatons, and then to all youngsters and its name became Norris Bank Swimming Club.

Membership ballooned and at its height there were 450 members split between pools at Reddish Vale and Mile End.

Currently there are around 230 children with the club.

Margaret said: “We are very passionate about teaching children to swim. There is a surprising­ly high amount of children who cannot swim.

“But it is a life skill that is always going to be important in any era.”

 ?? Dawber Photograph­y ?? Youngsters having fun in the bouncy castle at the celebratio­n event held by Norris Bank Swimming Club to mark 50 years
Dawber Photograph­y Youngsters having fun in the bouncy castle at the celebratio­n event held by Norris Bank Swimming Club to mark 50 years

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