A WOMAN who has dedicated more than half her life to teaching children to swim will lose her role in September.
Doreen Adcock, 75, has taught swimming lessons to children of all abilities across Milton Keynes for nearly 40 years.
In some case she has taught three and four generations of the same family and has been based at Leon School and Sports College since 1974.
But in September, the school will become an academy and her ‘Learn to Swim’ classes will be taught by the school’s own ‘specialist staff.’
Doreen, who lives in Little Brickhill, said: “I have been poolside since 1974 so this is very disappointing. There are not enough pools in Milton Keynes to accommodate us and I have tried everywhere.
“Many of the children I teach have special needs and one of them is blind. To see them learning to swim is fantastic.
“Where will they be able to go in September where they won’t be stared at?
“The children are the ones who will be losing out, not me. It’s a naughty decision and one that I am extremely disappointed about.”
One concerned reader, whose daughter and granddaughter had been taught to swim by Doreen, said: “This is a terrible decision. Doreen has been teaching for so many years and the children love her. It is a disgrace that she has been treated this way.”
Doreen, who won the Citizen’s Pride in MK Older Achiever Award and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero Award in 2009, teaches a class on Wednesday, between 7pm and 10pm, Saturday between 10.15am and 1.45pm and Sunday between 9.30am and noon.
The lessons cost just £2 and are vital to children across the city. Doreen said: “We teach lifesaving, rescue and survival swimming among a host of other vital skills.
With so many bodies of water around the city children are vulnerable if they don’t know how to swim or how to save their friends.
An official statement from Leon School and Sports College stated: “Leon School and Sports College are continually investing in their facilities, many for dual use with the community. We have spent a lot of money recently refurbishing the swimming pool with plans for further changing room development.
“From September 2012 the “Learn to Swim” classes will be taught by our own specialist staff in a safer environment, thus meeting demand by providing even more swimming classes for all of Milton Keynes.
“As a result of this business decision, opportunities for hiring the pool by other users will be reduced.”