The many talents of Jean

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DESCRIBING Jean Walsh as a woman of many talents is a bit of an understatement.

She’s a district nurse, fitness instructor, ballroom dancer, dance teacher, keen walker, body tone expert, fundraiser and personal trainer.

She’s a keen runner who tackles 10k and half marathons.

Chris Cordner met her.

JEAN Walsh grabs a spare moment at Springs gym to reflect on life.

It is one of those rare occasions when she is not on the go - either in her job as a part-time district nurse or running dance and fitness classes.

The 59-year-old from the Fens area of Hartlepool, has been a district nurse for 30 years, was in the nursing profession before that, and started her career in healthcare in 1967.

She’s part-time now and still speaks with a passion about the job she adores.

She said: “I retired when I was 55 but I went back three days a week.

“Why? Because it means I can help people. I have never done anything else in my working life. I have never wanted to do anything else. I love hands-on care work.”

Once she finishes a shift, she can usually be found passing on her knowledge and skills in other areas.

Jean runs aquarobics classes, pilates, Zumba dance sessions and a course called Mature Movers for older people - all in Springs gym at Hartlepool Marina as a freelance, where she has been a member since it opened.

She tells me: “I have a passion for passing on information. I don’t see any reason to have knowledge and then keep it to myself.

“I started teaching at Springs by accident when someone asked me to stand in and do a step class because they knew I taught that. I did it and ended up getting regular classes.”

She also heads up Zumba and pilates sessions at the Carol Hammond Dance Studio in Dalton Street, Hartlepool.

And she continues the Zumba message with sessions at St Hild’s School in Hartlepool.

Then there’s the classes she runs for older people in Greatham.

“It started out as a way for them to do exercises while they sat in a chair. They are that fit now, they do most of it standing up.”

She is also a personal trainer for a close group of friends. “I love watching people improve, ” says Jean. “And I do not exclude anyone from anything.

“Anyone who teaches should be able to accommodate anyone in their classes.

“You don’t exclude people. You just give them a level to work at.”

Then there’s her own hobbies.

“I ballroom dance and I like to encourage other people to do it as well,” says Jean, who is married to Derek, 61, who works as a driver for a primary care practice.

She is also a keen runner who completed last year’s Great North Run in 2 hours and 40 minutes. She’s probably going to stick to 10k races this year, explaining: “The problem is finding the time to do the training runs. It is hard.

“But it is stress relief and gives you time to think.”

And to top it all off, she fundraises for various causes.

When asked if she ever gets time to chill out and relax, she replies: “Chill? What’s that? If I am off work, I work.”