Norwich woman learns to swim at 71 - with two new hips and a pacemaker!

Learning to swim can be a stressful experience for lots of people but a Sprowston woman has fought her fear of water despite having a pacemaker for her heart and two replacement hips.

Iris Moppett had reached 71 years of age before deciding to tackle her fear of swimming by joining Thorpe Dolphins Swim School in Thorpe St Andrew.

The grandmother-of-one, who lives on Falcon Road West in Sprowston, admits that she and water 'just never mixed'.

But after just four lessons with Thorpe Dolphins, Iris is starting to build her confidence and for the first time in her life, is starting to swim.

'Iris is a real inspiration,' said Kim Burrows, who has been running Thorpe Dolphins for the past 18 years. 'Iris is 71, she has a pacemaker and has had two hip replacements. After only four lessons she has overcome her fears and is now managing to swim short distances.'

Now Iris is enjoying her growing confidence in the pool and enjoyed being able to tell her son and daughter that she can finally swim, to which they replied: 'It's about time!'

Iris said: 'I had tried to learn years and years ago and just kept going under the water.

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'People kept saying to me that 'you just float', but I could never do it.

'I was petrified of the water and in the sea I would never let it go above my knees.'

With the help of Thorpe Dolphins swimming assistant, Chloe Ranger, Iris is pleased to have achieved her ambition of learning to swim.

But she admits there is still a long way to go before she will feel fully confident.

Iris adds: 'I found it very difficult at first and I wouldn't let the young girl Chloe's hand go at first.

'I was worried about my pacemaker and my hips as well but she reassured me that it would be good exercise for me and that they wouldn't do anything that would be too much for me.' Thorpe Dolphins have been running ladies-only swimming classes at Thorpe House Langley Preparatory School on Yarmouth Road since January.

Call Kim Burrows on 01603 439690 for more information about classes.

Have you got a story for Local Life? Call editor David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email