Golden oldies still splashing

ALBERT and Jean Newlands are used to making a splash.The energetic couple have taught swimming at Ipswich's Fore Street pool for a staggering 50 years and enjoy a range of sporting activities – despite the fact they are 80 and 77 respectively.

ALBERT and Jean Newlands are used to making a splash.

The energetic couple have taught swimming at Ipswich's Fore Street pool for a staggering 50 years and enjoy a range of sporting activities – despite the fact they are 80 and 77 respectively.

What makes their story even more remarkable is that the Kesgrave couple have never owned a car – preferring to buzz about between their classes on a pair of Honda 90 motorbikes.

Last week marked the end or an era for the pair, who held their last class at Fore Street pool on Wednesday evening.


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They have been involved in the Ipswich swimming scene since 1950 and in that time hundreds of people have been encouraged to take to the water under their expert guidance.

But is not old age or illness that has caused the pair to hang up their swimming caps – instead it is the rising price of hiring the pool.

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Mrs Newlands, of Holly Road, said: "We understand prices had to go up but our member numbers are going down and it's just not financially viable anymore."

The couple, who are honorary members of Ipswich Swimming Club, continue to swim regularly three times a week and visit the gym at weekends.

Mrs Newlands also enjoys the odd game of badminton and a weekly keep-fit class.

A love of swimming united the pair, who met at Broom Hill pool.

Mr Newlands, a former railway worker, said: "Swimming's in our blood I suppose.

"I've been swimming all my life and that's how I met my wife."

They first became heavily involved with swimming in the town when they joined the Ipswich swimming league in 1950, which consisted of teams from numerous companies across the town.

Mr Newlands said: "All the big companies like Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies would come along and compete against each other.

"The police also used to have a team. It was great fun, but when all the factories started closing the league eventually had to finish."

It was after the league ended that Mr and Mrs Newlands decided to set up their own club, The Gipping Swimming Club – which has met at Fore Street pool at least once a week ever since.

As well as teaching the regular class Mrs Newlands also taught swimming at schools across Ipswich for many years.

She said: "We like to keep busy and try and got out on the bikes everyday.

"We'll carry on doing keep fit for as long as we can I suppose."

Do you know of any golden oldies still going strong? Contact the Evening Star newsdesk, 01473-324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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