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40 years of teaching youngsters how to swim
IT’S been 40 years since John Johnson opened his own private swimming pool in a bid to reduce drowning accidents in East Lancashire.
He built the pool himself in the disused Lynwood Co-op building in Blackburn Road, Darwen and today Johnson’s Swimming School is still going strong.
John has been succeeded by his son and daughter-in-law Ged and Maria, alongside their eldest son Ben.
Back in 1970 when John submitted his plans for the 36ft long pool to the town council, he was Blackburn Swimming Club’s chief coach and instructor.
He also worked as woodwork manager at Evertaut in Darwen.
He also coached in the Northern Counties and held proficiency certificates with the Amateur Swimming Association and the Swimming Teachers Association of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
He said at the time: “In this area lots of children die in canals and rivers particularly during school holidays.
“But if their parents were able to send their children to a pool where they could be instructed to swim properly, most of these accidents would not happen.”
Thousands of children have been taught to swim at Johnson’s and many now bring their own children and grandchildren for tuition.
Other famous names launched at the same time as the pool were Hard Rock Cafe, Greenpeace, Mr Men and the BBC Open University.
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