‘I’ve always loved teaching’: Award-winning Daventry swim teacher retires after 50 years

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An award-winning swim teacher retired after 50 years of teaching children how to swim in Daventry.

At the age of 83, Rose Sutherland, a highly esteemed individual at Daventry Leisure Centre, announced her retirement.

The instructor has taught around 36,000 swim lessons with Daventry Dolphins Swimming Club and Daventry Leisure Centre over the past 50 years.

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She said: “I’ve always loved teaching. I enjoyed every minute of it. I never looked at it as a job. It was an experience and something that I could pass on to other children.”

Rose Sutherland pictured with her grandson Jack Boddington on her final day at Daventry Leisure Centre.Rose Sutherland pictured with her grandson Jack Boddington on her final day at Daventry Leisure Centre.
Rose Sutherland pictured with her grandson Jack Boddington on her final day at Daventry Leisure Centre.

Rose, originally from Buckinghamshire, has spent 54 years as a resident in Daventry.

“I just loved the water since I was a small child.

“I was determined. I just wanted to learn to swim, so I taught myself at the age of 17,” said Rose.

In 1974, Rose decided to take her son Mark and daughter Angela to swim lessons in Daventry. Since she did not have access to swim lessons when she was a child, she wanted to offer her children the opportunity to take some classes.

“It’s so important,” she said.

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Rose's good friend, Zoe Meacock, a swim instructor, approached her as she was taking her children to the swim lessons and asked if she would be interested in supporting the club.

Rose said: “I am forever grateful for it.

“I just enjoyed watching all the children achieve what they achieved, and I kind of got the bug from there.”

At first, Rose helped out the club by selling raffle tickets. Her career started shortly after as a poolside assistant before becoming a teacher in 1975 and going on to receive several awards in her field.

At Daventry Leisure Centre, she taught a range of swimming classes, including club and synchronised swimming, as well as swim scheme and school swimming.

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“I hope the progression of children's teaching keeps going. It’s a life skill that needs to be enforced,” said Rose.

A former president of the Daventry Dolphins as well as a county-qualified judge and starter, Rose has been known to teach three generations of the same families. She has volunteered with many schools and taught many children who needed extra support on a one-to-one basis.

Rose retired on Sunday, April 28. She said: “I will miss teaching. I will miss the children. I am not giving up on it altogether. I have just retired from teaching classes. I am not walking away from it.

“I’d like to thank everyone for the support they have given me. Ethan (Rose’s manager) has been a star. A big thank you to him.”

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Rose’s daughter, Angela, and two of her grandchildren, Emily and Jack, have both gone on to follow in her footsteps and teach swimming.

Daventry Leisure Centre is run by Everyone Active in partnership with West Northamptonshire Council.

Jamie Brightwell, Everyone Active’s manager, said: “Rose’s commitment to the job is truly remarkable. Her knowledge and understanding of swimming strokes are incredible, thanks to her continuous professional development and experience gained poolside.

“She has continued to pass this knowledge down to newly qualified teachers, ensuring future generations benefit. Rose has been a fantastic ambassador for swimming locally, and we wish her all the best in her retirement.”