A 97-year-old Dorset care home resident has spoken of her joy after she was able to go swimming for the first time in years.
Joyce Ware took the dip at the Stour Connect hydrotherapy pool in Sturminster Newton and says she would love to spend more time in the water.
Supported by team members from Colten Care’s Newstone House care home where she lives, the former science teacher said her 45-minute private session rekindled fond memories of swimming when she was a girl and as an adult in various locations here and overseas.
Joyce said: “I really enjoyed my time in the pool and it brought back so many memories. I didn’t want to leave. I could have swum for hours. If we could do this every week, it would be amazing.”
Back in the 1920s, Joyce’s mother was a swimming coach and ensured her daughter learned to swim from when she was a toddler.
As a girl she swam in Whitley Bay near Newcastle and, when evacuated to Keswick during the Second World War, she enjoyed dips in the Lake District.
Working as a science teacher in Egypt after the war was over, she recalls swimming in the much warmer waters of the River Nile.
Karlene Horswill, Companionship Team Leader at Newstone House, said: “Joyce has been a lover of swimming since she was young and continued to swim until she came to Newstone House. She was originally with us for respite care and then became a longer-term resident two years ago.
“During a reminiscence activity, she revealed her love of swimming as a child in Whitley Bay and in Dorset when she moved here with her family.
“Stour Connect is our home’s chosen charity this year so we got in contact with them and arranged the session specially for her.”
As well as Karlene, Joyce was accompanied on the visit by the home’s Care Co-ordinator Lucy England who joined her in the seven-metre-by-three-metre pool.
For Karlene and Lucy, seeing the mother-of-two take to the water was a joy. Karlene said: “It was so heart-warming to see Joyce smiling as she went into the pool.
“She surprised us by still being able to swim so well after all these years. She enjoyed every moment.
“It just goes to show that when it comes to doing something you love, it’s never too late to dip your toe in the water.”