A SEPTUAGENARIAN from Ryedale has finally conquered her fear of water and has learnt to swim.

Ann Bannister, 74, never learnt how to swim as a youngster. She was thrown in the deep end of her local pool as a teenager and developed an all-encompassing fear of going out her depth in the water.

Determined to not let fear hold her back, Ann visited her local leisure centre, Ryedale Swim and Fitness Centre in Pickering, aged 72.

With the help and support of instructors Adam Kendrew and Sam Calvert, Ann has overcome her fear of being out of her depth in the water and is now able to confidently swim 26 lengths.

Ann said: “When I turned 72, I decided that I wanted to take on a new challenge. I have always been active, and I regularly take part in 10k charity runs, but I had never learnt how to swim.

“I was determined to continue to challenge myself and stay active.

“Before I joined Adam’s class I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect.

“When I attended my first lesson and was joined by other adults I soon felt at ease. Adam really took the time to talk me through each step, and week by week my confidence grew,” she added.

“Learning how to swim is one of the best decisions I have ever made; two years later at 74, I am fitter than ever.”

Ryedale Swim and Fitness Centre is managed by Everyone Active, which offers a number of swimming courses for adults across all of its leisure centres across the district.

Ann added: “I would encourage anyone who is looking to learn how to swim, no matter what their age, to find out more.”