More than 100 women, all curious about water aerobics, turned up to sample the new form of exercise at the Park Leisure Centre in Barrow in 1994.

Instructor Margaret from the Furness Health Studio made the 45-minute session splash by and virtually everyone vowed to return to the class.

Few had tried water aerobics before. There were a few women who couldn't swim who were still willing to give it a go.

Like every other form or aerobic exercise, it took a while to get the co-ordination right but soon 100 women were happily marching up and down, firing imaginary arrows and waving their arms in the air, sprinkling water from their fingers.

There was a range of ages among participants the youngest were seven years old.

Modified from the usual exercises done on land, the aerobics might have felt strange at first, but after a few minutes, participants learned to rely on the water.

Margaret explained why water aerobics were so effective. She said: "You are working very hard but you don't realise it. The water puts less strain on muscles and joints, the body can work through a wider range of movements and injuries are reduced. A large amount of energy is expended but it feels less tiring.

"You experience a loss of 90 per cent of your body weight in the water so it becomes easier to do exercises you struggle with on land.

"The exercises can help with your arms, legs, thighs, buttocks and back."

This form of exercise was definitely not just for the super fit.

Margaret said "Some of the women have neck pain, mild back pains, arthritic problems and often the doctor recommends swimming. So water aerobics is an ideal option.

"I trained to teach water aerobics five years ago."

Also in 1994 the Park Leisure Centre in Barrow had been packing the youngsters in for a wide range of fun activities during the spring half-term.

Any child could go along to the centre and try their hand at everything from wall climbing to karaoke to swimming and Hula-hoops.

Other attractions included puppeteers, magician Dave Simpson and 'balloonatics'.