A LONG-running club that has taught generations of Redditch youngsters how to swim has come to an end.

The Bridge Swimming Club has recently taught its last swimmer after 45 years of teaching children vital swimming skills.

The closure comes as the club struggled to get new volunteers following a time change of classes, as it relies entirely on swimming coaches giving their time for free.

Sue Robinson, who has been an assistant swimming teacher at the club for 12 years, said: "We rely on volunteers and we just can't get them.

"I've had a lot of emails from parents saying they are so sad."

The club was founded by David Finney and Tom Ryder and started for Redditch Boys and Girls Brigades to provide a lifesaving skill at an affordable price to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity learn to swim.

It was later renamed The Bridge and offered swimming lessons at a low cost for children aged five to 16, including current leader Ken Poyner's own children 35 years ago.

Co-founder David Finney won the Inspire Redditch Unsung hero Award in 2013, Pride of Redditch in 2015 and was the BBC Midlands Sports Unsung Hero Award winner in 2016 in recognition of his contribution to the community through the club.

He passed away in 2019, sparking tributes from across Redditch for his dedication and commitment to the club.

The closure has hit volunteers hard as they have seen first-hand the impact that the club made on the confidence and skills of its pupils.

Sue added: "We've had children arrive so nervous they have had to be peeled away from their parents to swimming lengths. To see them do that is so rewarding.

"The volunteers will all miss each other, we have been together for so long."

"Ken Poyner, the club leader, would like to thank all the parents and swimmers, past and present for their support through the years. A very big thank you also goes to all the volunteers who over the past 45 years have given their time to assist in helping teach the children to swim."