A NORTON nursing student has been inspired to start teaching swimming after tragedy struck while she was in Bangladesh.

However, the swimming club lessons she is helping with may be under threat.

Anne Eddery went volunteering in Bangladesh between May and July this year with the International Citizen Service and charity Y Care International.

She was part of a group who taught in local informal schools in the Birisiri community, where many people cannot afford an education. They delivered workshops on first aid, addiction and sexual health.

But a tragic incident while she was out there prompted her to make swimming and water safety her focus. “There were two preventable deaths,” she said, “when sadly two children died trying to swim in the local river.”

Her group ran a poster campaign in the local community emphasising the dangers of not being able to swim and on her return to the UK she became inspired to teach swimming as a volunteer at Derwent Valley Amateur Swimming Club.

“Swimming is an important life skill and it was saddening how many children were unable to swim and were also unaware of the dangers of swimming in open water,” she said.

“The Birisiri community were close knit and helped each other in many ways and this is one of the reasons I want to give something back to the community which supported my placement and helped me reach my fundraising target.”

Derwent Valley was founded in 1961 and has taught a large number of Norton children to swim.

However both Derwent Valley and Pickering-based Ryedale Swimming Club may have their swimming lessons stopped after local leisure providers Everyone Active requested to be the sole providers of swimming lessons in the district.

The scrutiny committee of Ryedale District Council is currently undertaking a review into swimming lesson provision in the area.