Swimming lessons at Ulverston Leisure Centre were so popular in 1994 that some people queued in the early hours to ensure a place.

The Mail visited the pool in October that year to talk to its swimming instructor Gail Whiteley.

Standing on the edge of the pool a group of excited five-year-olds waited impatiently for the register to be checked, then it was into the water.

Some, still a touch cautious, edged their way down steps; others, bolder, leapt straight in with yells of delight. None hung back.

Gail Whiteley’s clear voice urged and cajoled from the side: “Let’s get those faces wet. Can I hear lots of noisy bubbles please?

“Right, now put your arms on the side and let’s see lots of splashing.”

A couple of weeks previously the youngsters hardly dipped a toe into water without the comfort and security of inflatable arm-bands. But bow they leapt about band-less in the shallow end, squealing, screaming, shrieking and shouting with glee.

“The first thing is to eliminate their fears,” said Gail. “By blowing bubbles and getting their ears under the water or playing little games like ring-a-ring-o-roses keeps what they’re doing fun.

“At this level they are raw material and try is the biggest word - trying with lots of praise.”

From the start the scheme had been a resounding success story. From an eight-hour teaching week and 130 pupils a decade previously, in 1994 there was an a 19-hour teaching week catering for 463 pupils.

Classes comprises 364 children and 99 adults and there was a waiting list of 70.

Karen Bowes from Gleaston first came along to the swimming club with her children and in 1994 was helping Gail with her classes. She was in no doubt about the worth of the lessons.

“I don’t think all these kids would come here after school if they didn’t enjoy what they were doing,” said Karen.