A gymnastics and trampolining coach is defying age stereotypes as she continues to lead multiple sessions across Sutton.

Carole Taylor, from South Norwood, has been head of gymnastics and trampolining coach at David Weir Leisure Centre and The Phoenix Centre since 1989.

She is now 78 and is showing no signs of retiring.

Carole, who lives in South Norwood, also heads up the junior activities at both centres and at Westcroft Leisure Centre.

With a background in modelling and working in the travel industry as an air hostess and financial accountant, Carole discovered her passion for coaching through her daughter who began her fitness journey when she was eight years old.

Carole explained: “When my eldest daughter was young, she became really interested in sports and so I went with her to either gymnastics, trampolining or diving classes every day.

“She was excellent at all of them and seeing her enthusiasm for sport and how it was transforming her confidence pushed me to put my name in the hat when the centre began looking for a gymnastics coach.”

Whilst Carole’s daughter went on to be a member of the Junior GB diving squad before enrolling at university, Carole kept herself busy as a coach after completing an NPLQ lifeguard qualification and creche manager’s course to offer even more services to her local community.

Carole added: “I love to do as much as I can to help benefit the young people of our community.

“For me, the busier I am, the more I enjoy my job.

“From becoming a lifeguard to overseeing and running the centre’s spa – before we outsourced - whilst the manager was on maternity leave, Everyone Active has enabled me to support my team whilst constantly learning new skills through courses and new opportunities.”

Despite now working part-time, Carole is still set on growing her programmes, introducing new initiatives to further increase young people’s confidence.

She said: “Next year, we want to build a gymnastics squad to compete in local competitions.

“We also want to hold our own in-house competition where we can sell tickets and all the children’s parents can come to watch their children take part in either a floor or vault piece to win awards.

“I want to do the same thing for our trampolining club too as it’s great for the parents to be involved and for the children to be celebrated.

“Our clubs are growing rapidly – our gymnastics club has around 110 members and our trampolining has over 70 – and I believe this is because we’ve focused on how we can improve their confidence as well as their performance.

“I consider myself very fortunate as I’m in good health and am still able to do two jobs I enjoy whilst spending time looking after my grandchildren.

“The friendships I have made at the centres with other colleagues are an added bonus - I’m very fortunate to be able to do something I love to do.”

Rebecca Eyles, contract manager at Everyone Active, said: “Carole is a complete expert in her field and has helped countless children over the years discover their love for sport. She’s a remarkable lady and a shining example of how harnessing your passion can lead to a lengthy and truly fulfilling career.”