Meet Ruth Fletcher, the nanny who is happy to make a 376-mile round trip each week for some splashing fun with her grandson.
Ruth, who lives in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton, jumps in her car most Monday mornings to take youngest grandson Theo to his weekly swimming lesson.
“I don’t know if I’ve just got used to the journey now, but I really think nothing of hopping in the car and driving almost 200 miles, just in time for Theo’s swimming lesson,” she said.
“I used to do the same with his big brother, Oscar, and really loved that one-on-one time with him. Oscar has since graduated from his Water Babies lessons, but Theo is very much following in his footsteps and loving his time in the pool.
“It’s our favourite thing to do as a nanna and grandson – it’s definitely worth the long journey.”
Ruth’s daughter Hannah, who lives in Wootton, signed both of her sons up to Water Babies lessons when they were just a few weeks old.
She said: “I think the first time I saw Water Babies was through one of the lovely underwater photos on a leaflet – I was hooked.
“Both boys have since had one of those photoshoots and the images hang pride of place in our home. One of the best things for us, as a family, is just how much it has increased everyone’s confidence – and not just the boys!
“My Mum has never been much of a swimmer, but in the five years that she’s been taking Oscar and then Theo to their lessons, her confidence has come on leaps and bounds. She even took part in the Great North Swim earlier this year!”
As a busy midwife, working shifts at Peterborough Hospital, Hannah is not always available to take Theo for his lesson - but Ruth revels in the opportunity for one-on-one time with her youngest grandchild.
Ruth added: “Me and the M1 have become good pals these last few years.
“I think swimming is a great bonding exercise for little ones and grandparents – it gives you this allotted amount of time of learning together and it’s so exciting to see how much they progress.
“It’s also a great, low-intensity workout! I’m currently the only grandparent in my session, but it would be lovely if some other grannies and grandads joined in with their grandchildren too.”