Local mum and businesswoman is Puddle Duck Franchisee of the Year - sponsored feature

North East businesswoman Carolyn Sharpe's success in teaching babies and children to swim has seen her win the Puddle Ducks' Franchisee of the Year - sponsored feature

From left: Jo Stone, Carolyn Sharpe and Tracy Townend at the Puddle Duck Franchisee of the Year award
From left: Jo Stone, Carolyn Sharpe and Tracy Townend at the Puddle Duck Franchisee of the Year award

Local businesswoman Carolyn Sharpe is celebrating after winning the Franchisee of the Year award at the 2015 Puddle Ducks annual conference.

Carolyn’s passion for teaching babies and children to swim began when she took her eldest son William to baby swimming classes at just seven weeks old. She said: “Since then I have watched in wonder as my precious little boy has become so confident in the water. I almost burst with pride when he held on to the poolside unaided and pulled himself out of the pool for the first time in his Puddle Ducks class at just seven months old.”

Four years later and Carolyn is going from success to success. She has broken the glass ceiling of teaching more than 1,000 babies, children and mums-to-be every week, has the highest turnover and profit ever recorded by a Puddle Ducks franchise and has built a fantastic team of 18 teachers, admin staff and poolside assistants.

On receiving the award, Carolyn said: “I was delighted to win this award. I absolutely love what I do and it is very rewarding to see so many children come through our programmes and become competent little swimmers before they even start school. Building this franchise has allowed me, and most of my team, to strike that perfect balance between a rewarding job and family life.”

Carolyn’s focus and emphasis on leading and supporting her team has meant that she has also been able to meet her own definition of success – running a successful business while also being able to spend more time with her children and enjoying travelling.

The Franchisee of the Year award-winner is selected by Puddle Ducks co-founders Tracy Townend and Jo Stone and is awarded to the franchisee who best demonstrates professional value in the way that they run their business – both in terms of the service they provide to customers and the support provided to their team.

Tracy Townend said: “Carolyn has worked incredibly hard to achieve her wonderful success. She has built a highly-dedicated team which she leads, motivates and supports to enable them to delivery an excellent service to their customers. She is an inspiration to all women looking to run their own business.”

With classes perfectly tailored to suit your child’s age and confidence, Puddle Ducks classes are full of songs, rhymes, games and activities working towards little ones swimming independently, safely and happily, both above and under the water.

Puddle Ducks was founded by Tracy Townend and Jo Stone, who first met at antenatal classes and soon realised they shared a love of swimming with their babies and a common desire to launch a business. After extensive research and training they opened their first Puddle Ducks class in 2002 and began franchising in 2007. They have now awarded more than 30 territories across the UK.

Puddle Ducks offers swimming lessons from aquanatal classes to children of 10 years of age, taught by carefully-selected and highly-trained, welcoming teachers who know how to get the very best out of every individual.

Both baby and pre-school and swim academy lessons also teach critical water-safety skills that have helped save the lives of several children. Please see our website for further information.

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