Epworth teacher still coaching aged ninety

2016-08-22 14:28
Freda Waygood celebrated her 90th birthday at Epworth School, Pietermaritzburg.

Freda Waygood celebrated her 90th birthday at Epworth School, Pietermaritzburg. (File)

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Freda Waygood, a part-time synchronised swimming and diving teacher at Epworth School, proved age is but a number as she celebrated her 90th birthday on Sunday.

“She is the most amazing woman and so passionate about the sports she teaches at Epworth,” said Vicky Crookes, head of marketing at the school.

Known for her expertise in synchronised swimming and diving, Waygood said that she teaches part-time due to a lack of teachers in the field. She also specialises in educational dance and gym.

Waygood grew up in England where she trained to be a physical education teacher and represented England in country dancing.

“I evacuated London during the war … and started doing English folk dancing in South Africa,” said Waygood, who came to Cape Town at the age of 23.

She and her husband then moved to Pietermaritzburg where she taught physical education at a number of schools including Girls’ High, Russell High, Linpark, Longmarket and Teacher Training College.

As a teacher at Russell High School, Waygood was instrumental in setting up the Netball Association of Pietermaritzburg.

“She joined Epworth in 1988, after she had retired, and has been an integral part of school sport for the past 28 years,” said Crookes.

Her son, Chris Waygood, said: “She tells me she has now finally retired, but still seems to be quite involved. Her’s is an amazing story, partly because she has managed to stay so active in the community and in teaching for so long, and partly because it reflects the amazing community spirit of Pietermaritzburg,” added Chris.

The very humble Waygood, whose secret to longevity is keeping busy, having lots of hobbies and generally maintaining an active lifestyle, said that she celebrated her birthday by having a tea party with her neighbours. Epworth School also hosted a birthday celebration for her last Friday.

“Her neighbours and colleagues have been incredible in how they have supported her in so many ways — from the little things like helping out with computer challenges, to the larger things of support and care, and especially involving her in their lives,” said Chris, who has moved to Australia.

Waygood is an active member of the Pietermaritzburg City Orchestra, where she plays the violin and acts as the librarian. She is also an enthusiastic embroiderer and meets with members of the Embroiderers’ Guild often.

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