An Epsom woman has been recognised as “The Swimming Teacher of the Year” by industry experts.

The competition invited swimming pupils, colleagues and parents from across the UK to nominate their favourite teacher and attracted over 700 entries nationwide.

Among those nominated was Epsom's Erin Ridgewell.

She has worked at Epsom’s Rainbow Leisure Centre for the past six years, initially joining as a recreation assistant before qualifying as a swimming teacher.

She teaches all levels of swimmer within the Better Swim School scheme, along with adult, toddler and infant classes. Away from the poolside Erin has a keen interest in amateur dramatics, running a local drama group and taking part in regular productions.

Chairman of the judges, Andrew Clark said: “It was a tough decision, all of the finalists were hugely impressive.

"Erin was chosen by the judging panel for her enthusiasm and passion for teaching a wide range of ages and abilities.

Erin clearly gets to know her pupils’ needs and builds a great rapport, ensuring they develop confidence in the water and really enjoy their time in the pool. She is a great role model for the industry.”

Swimming Teacher of the Year, Erin added: “I feel truly honoured and excited to have won the Swimming Teacher of the Year Awards particularly amongst some an amazing group of finalists.

"I find teaching swimming hugely rewarding and am truly touched that some many of my pupils first nominated me for this award back in the summer. To know that you are valued and are making a difference is very humbling.”