A FORMER world champion in Karate is the new centre manager at Settle's community-run swimming pool.

Tash Ward, who grew up in Thailand and was previously manager of a fitness club in Ilkley, joined the team at Settle Area Pool in August last year, as business development manager, and has been interim centre manager since May.

The new role brings together responsibility for the whole building including both the pool itself and the new fitSpace area which was created following last year’s major re-development.

It is part of wider changes to the staffing structure to reflect the major developments at the pool and the new opportunities for use of the facilities.

Formerly club manager of Anytime Fitness in Ilkley, Tash, 30, has a sports management degree from Leeds Beckett University. She is also a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer.

Growing up in Thailand and going to an International School, she was involved in a variety of sports from an early age. She was particularly attracted to karate, becoming a black belt and world champion at the age of 14.

In September 2020 Tash and her partner moved to Settle. They have a baby boy now aged 18 months.

Tash said: “Over the past year I have come to appreciate just how much the people of this area love their pool. It is support given by the staff, the customers, the trustees and the multitude of volunteers who work tirelessly to raise funds that keeps the pool going.

“We now have great facilities. The challenge is to make the best use of them for the benefit of the whole community. We are making a great start this summer with our intensive swimming classes. And I am delighted to see the building is being used by people of all ages and abilities. But there is more that needs to be done to reach out to the whole community and to make sure that people know there is something for everyone here at Settle pool.”