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Pub to take on new ‘watering hole’ status

Puddle Ducks Greater Manchester to build a swimming centre on a former pub.

A pub in Gee Cross, Hyde is to be transformed into a baby and child swimming centre and education hub for new parents and young families with the addition of an 8m x 6m hydro pool and other facilities including a multi-function activity space and a coffee shop.

The transformation of The Apethorn on Knott Lane into a unique new venue to be called ‘Aqua Nurture’ is the brainchild of couple Gary and Suzanne Horton who purchased the pub in March last year. Building work has already started on the project which will be complete by April.

The Hortons own and run the Greater Manchester franchise of national baby and child swim school business, Puddle Ducks, and teach 600 customers each week in eight swimming pools across Manchester, Trafford, Stockport and Oldham.

They were looking to expand their Puddle Ducks business but needed more pool time due to high levels of demand – so they took the huge step of selling their family home and are building their own, with a project cost of £600,000!

The couple will continue to run Puddle Ducks classes at existing venues but the hydro pool at Aqua Nurture will allow them to bring Puddle Ducks classes to customers across Tameside, North Stockport and the High Peak.  Perfect for babies, toddlers and young children the warm hydro pool will be super-filtered to minimise the use of chemicals.

Speaking about Aqua Nurture, Suzanne Horton said, “We work with many parents and have two young children ourselves, so we understand the importance of having family friendly facilities. As well as swimming, which we see as an important life skill as well as being loads of fun, we were keen to offer a range of activities and services which complement our Puddle Ducks business under one roof and that’s where the idea for a ‘family hub’ came about.

“We will be offering a wide range of health and wellbeing activities such as baby massage and baby sensory as well as pre and post pregnancy classes. There is also going to be a coffee shop which we hope will be used by the community at large too.”

Keen to employ local labour, Suzanne and Gary have appointed Dukinfield-based building contractor, Jamieson Contracting to complete the conversion and the pool is being built by Cheshire Swimming Pools and Spas.  Suzanne and Gary are also looking forward to bringing new employment opportunities to the local area.


For more information on Aqua Nurture, visit or call 0161 368 1226 and for Puddle Ducks classes, call 0161 883 0222, or visit

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