Ann takes the plunge for Saint Catherine's

A septuagenarian from Kirkbymoorside has completed a sponsored swim for Saint Catherine’s – having only learnt to swim last year.

Ann Bannister, 75, took the plunge and finally conquered her fear of water, which started when she was thrown into the deep end of her local pool as a teenager.

She learnt to swim at Ryedale Swim and Fitness Centre in Pickering with the help and support of Adam Kendrew and Sam Calvert.

Ann started learning aged 72 and by last year she could confidently swim 26 lengths.

And a year on, Ann has raised a fantastic £921 for Saint Catherine’s by completing a sponsored swim at the same centre. The challenge was to swim 50 lengths (1,250 metres) and Ann did it in an hour and 15 minutes.

Ann, who is a member of the hospice’s Kirkbymoorside Support Group, said: “I got an incredible response with the sponsorship. A lot of people upped their sponsorship when they realised what I’d done.

“When I got the final total I couldn’t believe it! Everybody said it was such a good cause. Anything I can do to help the hospice, I will.” She also said a big thank you to all her sponsors.

Ann is now looking forward to planning more fundraising events with the support group. She is also still going to her swimming lesson once a week and is now learning front crawl.

Ann added: “I was terrified of going out of my depth at first, but they were really good at the pool and gave me lots of encouragement. I would encourage anyone who can’t swim to learn – it’s so good for you. I can relax now and enjoy it!”

Nicky Grunwell, Ryedale area fundraiser for Saint Catherine’s, said: “We are so proud of Ann and would like to thank her for her fantastic support. She is an inspiration and the money she has raised will make a real difference to patient care.”