Rec Centre's top volunteer

Long-time local aqua fitness instructor Rae Watson has made waves with her high quality of teaching over the years, which has been recognised with the YMCA South Australia Volunteer of the Year Award.

The award recognises and celebrates the outstanding efforts and achievements of volunteers within the leading not-for-profit organisation across the state.

Rae has been teaching classes at the Whyalla Recreation Centre since 2010 and says she's 'really thrilled' to have won the award.

"It's an honour, it was so unexpected because I don't do this to get any kind of reward, I do it because I love it and I'm committed to exercise," she said.

"I feel that Aqua Aerobics is so important for people, so my aim is to help older people be more active and healthy for as long as they possibly can."

A retired teacher, Rae volunteers at the Centre up to three times a week and has a loyal following with class numbers ranging from 20 to 40 each session.

"When I retired I wanted to do something that I could do to give back to the community, so I'm really lucky that the YMCA here let me follow my dream of become an aerobics instructor," she said.

"My clients are very enthusiastic, they really love aerobics and they really love me."

Rae said Aqua Aerobics had many benefits for the elderly.

"Being in the water you get some resistance training because the water itself provides that resistance. It strengthens the ladies upper body while building up aerobic fitness," she said.

"These classes tick all the boxes because it provides exercise, which is fun, and we have social activities afterwards because the YMCA put on a morning tea.

"Some of these ladies live on their own so aqua is the only real social event they come to three times a week."

Whyalla Recreation Centre manager, Kimberley Nitschke, said that Rae's contribution to the community was ongoing and a wonderful example to the Centre's staff team.

"Rae is passionate about helping improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the ageing population in Whyalla and she continues to dedicate herself to the Centre," she said.

"Rae can and does fill in for staff at short notice in a variety of roles if required and she really is an inspirational leader in her own way."

"We are lucky to have Rae volunteering with us and she couldn't be more deserving of her award."