A SWIMMING instructor who has taught more than 30,000 people in a career spanning 30-years is hanging up his trunks.

Ian Brown of Chilton, near Ferryhill, has been coaching and training swimmers at Darlington’s Dolphin centre for over three decades - teaching around 600 children a week under a swimming scheme that started 25 years ago.

Now, aged 60, he is leaving the poolside to enjoy his retirement but says he will miss the “absolute joy of teaching”.

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He added: “It is a liberating experience watching both adults and children from various strengths come in and improve.

“Especially children who can sometimes be so frightened when they first come.

“Some of the children that come to my class now, their parents were taught by me.”

Mike Crawshaw, Head of Leisure services at Darlington Borough Council, described Mr Brown’s departure as “the end of an era”.

He added: “Ian leaves the scheme in really strong health and it will continue to run.”

Mr Brown competed in his first swimming gala in 1966 and has coached and swam throughout the North East ever since.

Despite his well-earned retirement, Mr Brown has no plans to put his feet up as he looks forward to tackling a 1,000-mile bike ride from Lands End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland.