OVER the years he has taught hundreds of babies to swim and have confidence in the water. Now the hard work of Budge Pountney has been recognised after he was nominated for a national award.

As a poor swimmer himself, Budge was determined his children would not follow in his footsteps.

But when his wife, Ali, began taking their daughter to swimming classes they got more than they bargained for.

As a former PE instructor, Ali decided she wanted to become a water babies instructor and former international rugby player Budge followed suit when they relocated to Hampshire.

Since then, the Water Babies classes they run across Hampshire have flourished and now Budge has been nominated by parents for a What’s On 4 2010 awards in the category of ‘Most Outstanding Activity Leader for the Under-Fives’.

Budge said: “It is wonderful to be nominated by the parents of the children we teach. It is so rewarding to see the kids grow in confidence in the water and learn to swim. It is such a valuable skill to have.”

The award programme, which is again supported by Prima Baby & Pregnancy magazine, is now in its fourth year and celebrates the best activities across the UK, as nominated and voted for by parents. Water Babies runs a 40-week progressive programme to teach babies to swim. The lessons are packed full of energy, songs and water skills.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Baby Expo Brighton on June 27.

Parents are being invited to vote for their favourite nominee, but voting closes at the end of April.

• To register your vote, log on to whatson4littleones.co.uk.