U3A Volunteers Are ‘In The Swim’

Instructor John Leatherbarrow with class
Instructor John Leatherbarrow with class
Instructor John Leatherbarrow in front of whole class

Johnno Takes On Aquatic Job …

“I was volunteered” says former national serviceman John Leatherbarrow, when he talks about his new role as aqua-aerobics instructor for Beaudesert University of the Third Age (U3A).
And despite the old joke about service personnel being advised to “never volunteer,” John was happy to agree with his wife, U3A committee member Lise, that he was the person for the job. He has had an ongoing, close association with the veteran community and was a gym/PT instructor with the Citizens Military Forces (CMF) following his stint as a national serviceman.

Enjoying an aqua aerobics  lesson in progress
Adrian Swanson (front) & Junette Harth (right) enjoying a lesson in progress

Aqua-aerobics is one of the most popular classes within U3A, attracting a regular roll-up of 20 or more members and occasionally reaching 30. It’s held twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Beaudesert swimming pool. Unlike most U3A courses which go into recess over the Christmas break – as senior members of the community are drawn into family childcare responsibilities – the group takes only a short Christmas/New Year holiday and will begin again from 12 January.

Members say it’s the ideal exercise during hot weather, and a great one for people with any mobility problems as it offers support in the water. It’s also a way to reach out and find new friends and social interaction.
“This is more than the enjoyment and relaxation of being in the water,” said regular member Mavis Rostedt at a recent class. “It is important for us seniors to have a regular, happy involvement with others, especially for those who are alone or with families a long distance away.”

Instructor John (right) with his 2-I-C Vicki Mills
Instructor John (right) with his 2-I-C Vicki Mills, who takes one half of the group when they are divided for exercises – one group in deep water and the other in the shallow end

Anyone interested in joining the group is invited to ring John on 0417 073 190. Classes run from 7.30 to 8.30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s suggested that participants wear sun protection, hat and sunglasses, and if wished, clean sports shoes/aqua shoes.

“We even gained a significant number of new members during that time,” he said. “Our mantra was ‘communication’ and we did that through online courses, emails, phone calls and newsletters to keep members engaged.
“However, it’s great to see people now beginning to get out and about again and most of our regular groups are now operating again, under Covid-19 restrictions.”

By Cheryl Folley (U3A) – Photos by Finella Loch (U3A)

Two women emerging from pool after lesson
Two women emerging from pool after lesson – left Joanne Heit and right, Mavis Rostedt