Hurricanes blow out candles on 10th birthday
By Lynn Crombie
The Hurricanes swimming club has just celebrated its 10th anniversary during which time its coaches have taught masses of youngsters to swim. Boxer Jon Thaxton turned up to join in the celebrations and delivered an inspiring speech.
The Hurricanes keep dry for once!
When Denise Bale and Jo Hamilton decided to set up their own swimming club, the response was so overwhelming that coming up with a name for the club was easy - it could only be called the Hurricanes.
On Saturday, 19 January, 2008 the club celebrated its 10th anniversary with a presentation in Hellesdon High School, Norwich, attended by about 70 young swimmers and teachers.
British lightweight boxing champion Jon Thaxton was there to present the swimmers and everyone associated with the club with trophies to commemorate the event.
Back in 1997, Denise and Jo were teaching for another organisation and felt it was time to look into developing their own club.
Demand for swimming sessions
They managed to get some pool space at Hellesdon and took the plunge, with the club quickly growing from meeting one day a week to four times.
From an initial group of 80 children, there are now about 350 young swimmers who regularly attend the classes.
Since the Hurricanes was founded, hundreds of children have been taught to swim at the classes held in the pools at Hellesdon High and Drayton Junior School.
Jo Hamilton, Jon Thaxton and Denise Bale
Although the club teaches children to swim to a high standard, the focus is not on competition.
Instead teachers concentrate on helping the young swimmers to be confident in the water and emphasising the importance of water safety.
After presenting the trophies to the children in front of an audience of parents, Jon Thaxton treated them to an inspirational speech. He also brought along his boxing belt for the children to see.
He explained how his determination to succeed had help him reach the top of his sport and how, with the help of a great team, he still has the ambition to aim for the world title.
Among those receiving their trophies was James Karolus who was also presented with a special award for his dedication to the club.
James, who was taught by Denise as a baby, has been with the Hurricanes since it started.
As well as teaching young swimmers, the club also helps those looking to become teachers themselves.
From the age of 14, those with potential can take a course which enables them to help in the lessons, moving on to become assistant teachers at 16, before qualifying as a teacher from aged 18.
Thaxton also presented a special award to Naomi Hubbard who also started lessons as a pupil 10 years ago and is now one of the club's qualified swimming teachers.
While Thaxton looks forward to pursuing his world championship ambition, Denise and Jo are looking forward to another decade of teaching the children of Norwich to swim and stay safe in the water.
last updated: 22/01/2008 at 14:36