A COUNCILLOR has celebrated 21 years as a volunteer coach at a local swimming club.

Hyndburn Borough's Cllr Kath Pratt has worked with the Accrington-based Pioneer 79 swimming club since 1997.

The Baxenden Tory representative for the last 12 years has also held the posts of secretary and chair over the years as well as being a poolside lifeguard.

The mother-of-three said: "I have absolutely enjoyed it.

"It's wonderful and rewarding to to see the young people learning to swim and gaining confidence.

"It makes a nice change from council work."

Club coach Mark Smith said: “I have worked closely with Kath for three years in her voluntary role at Pioneer 79 Swimming Club, where she has assisted me on a weekly basis with our group of young competitive swimmers.

"The swimming club could not function without the support of its volunteers, and Kath is a superb role model to the team, bringing a calm and positive approach to the sessions and forging excellent relationships with the swimmers and coaches.

"She is committed, motivated and enthusiastic, and these qualities are most prevalent when she is supporting the young swimmers to achieve their best.”

Cllr Tony Dobson, leader of Hyndburn Council Conservative group, said: "This is a fantastic achievement."

The club is based at the pool at Accrington Academy and also runs classes at Blackburn's Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.