A BASINGSTOKE woman enjoyed a dream holiday to Australia after conquering her fear of water.

Jenny Brundrit, 61, decided to face her fears by taking part in free swimming lessons for the over-55s.

The scheme at Basingstoke Sports Centre is part of a borough council initiative aimed at older learner swimmers.

It was an incident on holiday in Menorca which triggered Jenny’s fear of water, after she was pushed into a swimming pool by a stranger.

She said: “I had never been in water since. I couldn’t have a bath and I used to get panic attacks in the shower.”

But she decided to overcome her phobia after booking a holiday to Australia, and wanting to be able to swim in the sea.

Jenny, of Abbey Road, Popley, recalled her first day on the programme, and was full of praise for her coach, Julie Oliver.

Jenny said: “I came here and I couldn’t get my body off the wall, and I was like that for half an hour. Julie walked me around the pool and we made progress, and each week I grew and grew in confidence, knowing Julie was by my side.

“By the end of two weeks, I was swimming the width of the pool. It is the biggest achievement of my life.

“I would tell anyone to come and do it. My next goal is to do a length of the pool.”

Since joining the scheme, Jenny’s panic attacks have gone, and she has now returned from a two-month tour of Australia with her husband, Peter.

She said: “When I was in the sea, I was like a kid splashing around. I would never have done that if I hadn’t come here to learn to swim.”

Julie, a duty manager at Basingstoke Sports Centre, said: “I think she has done remarkably well – she had no confidence. She was determined and that counts.”