For many volunteers, the routine of helping is a way of life.

For Enniskillen woman, Clare Morris, standing at the side of the pool at 4pm, five days a week, is a dedicated way of life for her, as she helps to teach the next generation of swimmers.

She has been a coach with the Enniskillen Lakelanders Swimming Club for 25 years and has been recognised for her commitment as part of the Impartial Reporter Community Champions, in association with Encirc, with Clare shortlisted for the Sporting Champion of the Year award.

Explaining her journey from parent to teacher, Clare said: “My five children were involved in Lakelanders Swimming Club and I started out collecting money at the side of the pool.

"I then helped out at the side of the pool, and then I did teaching level one and level two, and then my kids were involved, and that spanned a long time.

"When they left, I kept on doing it - it is just a way of life!”

She described how when the clock hits 4pm, that means it is swimming time for her.

“Each year bring more children; you get different groups and it is really lovely to see the progress and get really involved with how the children are progressing.

“It is lovely to start them off as a beginner, and move them on as they progress.

“Even yesterday, a little girl did something, and I was like, ‘Wow’!

"I still get the buzz of something clicking  and you helping them, but it's there, it is them doing the work,” added Clare.

She has taken a slight step back and now goes to the pool four days a week.

“I have retired from the early mornings; I am there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I dropped Thursday, as I wanted to play golf.

“I’ve tried to leave [swimming coaching] a few times, and then a new coach will come and say, ‘Clare, will you help settle them in?’, and you get involved, and they get new ideas, and you end up going with it.

“It is a way of life. I don’t know what to do with myself when it’s not on!”

She described how she will be brokenhearted when the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum closes its doors for renovations.

“My heart will be broken when they close the Forum; I just can’t imagine not having a swimming pool, and not having a swimming club.

"I can see so much progress in the kids; there are some ready to go for competing, and they are not going to get the opportunity.

“It has to take the Forum to close to get rid of me!"

Clare was very surprised to hear she had been nominated for an award.

“I didn’t even know the awards were happening, or that there was such a thing; it was a huge surprise.

“It is going to be a Lakelanders night out!” she added.


Others shortlisted in the Sporting Champion of the Year award include Clogher Valley Rugby Football Club; Ernie Conlon, Fermanagh Supercup; Gaye Conway, Enniskillen Royal Boat Club; St. Aidan’s High School, Derrylin; and The Oisín McGrath Foundation.