Long-serving swim club member takes over top role in 80th anniversary year.

ONE of North Devon’s oldest sporting institutions has elected the first female president in the club’s 80-year history.

Long-serving secretary Joan Squire has taken over the new role at Barnstaple Swimming Club, which is celebrating eight decades this year.

Joan, 72, from Barnstaple, has been involved with the club for the last 45 years and has served as the secretary for 20 years.

“It’s become a way of life for me now,” she told the Gazette.

“Many members join as children and you watch them become parents and grandparents themselves.

“I’m so proud of the club, of our achievements and what we do in North Devon.”

The great-grandmother said she was looking forward to serving her three years at the helm, taking over from outgoing president Roy Marlborough, who is being made a patron of the club.

“It’s a real honour although a bit daunting at the same time,” added Joan.

“Roy has been involved with the club much longer than I have and has done an amazing job as president. I’ll certainly be going to him for his advice and expertise.”

The club has already held a number of events to celebrate its 80th anniversary, including a cream tea, a national water polo tournament, and an anniversary match with a team from Kettering, which is marking its own 40th anniversary this year.

Earlier this month, nearly 50 young members enjoyed an afternoon of sporting activities at Skern Lodge.

A sprint gala featuring teams from Ilfracombe, Torridgeside and Tiverton is planned for September 30 and an 80th anniversary dinner-dance is taking place for all members – past and present – at the Royal and Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple on September 29.

Tickets are being subsidised by the club and are available for £10 each. For more information, telephone Joan before August 7 on 07866 521320.