A SWIMMING teacher from Chester has been recognised with a national award.

Heather Manley, swim teacher at Puddle Ducks Chester, Wirral and North Wales, has been chosen out of hundreds of entries across the UK to be named ‘National Star Teacher’ - an inspirational individual who excels in teaching young children and babies to swim across the area, and receives glowing reviews from the parents and children.

Heather, who lives in Chester, has been with Puddle Ducks since 2018, initially joining as a Poolside Assistant, before progressing into teaching in Swim Academy and Baby and Pre School, following completion of her teaching qualifications. Her nomination for the award came from Laura Henwood, mum of Esme, who swims in Heather’s class at Queen’s School Chester.

Laura said: "Heather has been teaching Esme who has hearing loss for the past few years, and she is so in tune with Esme's needs. Obviously in the pool Esme can't wear her hearing aids which in an often noisy environment puts her at quite a disadvantage but thanks to Heather's attention to detail she has never struggled in the pool, in fact she loves swimming, is confident and is progressing well.

"Not only is Heather an excellent teacher, she has also gone above and beyond to support Esme recently as she received swimming lessons in school for the first time. Heather wrote a short report for us to take to the school so that their swimming instructors were aware of Esme's ability and the techniques that she uses to support Esme during lessons. This was a huge help to the school and enabled Esme to get the most out of those lessons too."

The winner was chosen by Rick Lynch from Brace Digital who commented: "After a thorough 'deep dive' of all the nominations for Star Teacher, I am bowled over by the number of fantastic entries for all of your brilliant swimming teachers. Reading all of the entries shows what an asset all of the swimming teachers are to Puddle Ducks and makes me realise, where you say, ‘It takes someone very special to become a Puddle Ducks swimming teacher’ - this is obviously very true."

Heather said of her achievement: "I am thrilled to have been nominated for this national award, let alone win! It is so rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of our little swimmers as they develop their confidence in the water. It makes me really proud to see how well Esme is progressing, she doesn’t let her hearing loss stop her which is really inspiring."

Jay Nash, owner of Puddle Ducks Chester, Wirral and North Wales said: "Heather is a wonderful teacher and 100% deserving of this recognition. She’s so in tune with the children she teaches and makes sure that they are really comfortable and happy throughout her classes, we’re incredibly proud to have Heather as part of our team!"

Puddle Ducks provides innovative swimming classes for babies, toddlers and children. Teachers focus on creating a nurturing environment, which supports independent swimming for children of all abilities.

For more information on Puddle Ducks Chester, Wirral and North Wales, and where they swim, call 01829 740825 or visit: www.puddleducks.com/local-teams/chester-wirral-north-wales.