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Pensioner and cancer survivor, 76, creates a range of sporty BIKINIS inspired by her glamorous youth in Monaco where she rubbed shoulders with Grace Kelly

  • Cherry Harker, 76, from Ringwood, Hants, has come out of retirement
  • Remembers how the swimwear of her youth was no good for watersports 
  • Bikinis made from wetsuit material that won't slip down
  • Has always wanted to design bikinis and had no intention of retiring 

A pensioner who always wanted to design a bikini line has finally fulfilled her ambition by launching a new swimwear range for the active beach babe.  

Cherry Harker, 76, from Ringwood, Hants, recalled trying to do watersports in skimpy bikinis while on holiday as a teenager in glamorous resorts like Monaco, Cannes and St Tropez.

But it wasn't until nearly 60 years later the impressive 'older-preneur', who has already beaten breast and cervical cancer, decided to tackle the problem.

Her ZwimZuit swimwear is a range of bold, panelled bikinis made from high quality neoprene, the material used to make wetsuits, which remain in place no matter what you do. 


While most people her age are enjoying retirement, 'older-preneur' Cherry Harker (above) has launched a new swimwear brand for the active beach babe

 

The idea goes back almost 60 years when a 17-year-old Cherry was on holiday with her family. Her father, Ronnie Harker, was Rolls Royce's first test pilot and got to take his family when he went to represent the company in Monaco in 1958.

Cherry said: 'We stayed in this beautiful hotel and my sister and I used to go to this exclusive swimming pool, where we saw Grace Kelly. 

'It was really something, Winston Churchill was in the corner painting a picture with his wife and granddaughter.

'I pretty much learnt how to water-ski one-handed - one hand on the tow-handle and the other holding my briefs up. And I noticed that quite often some women lost their swimwear when they dived into a pool.


In her youth Cherry, 76, knew all too well the perils of wardrobe malfunctions from trying to do watersports in a bikini while on holiday in glamorous resorts like Monaco, Cannes and St Tropez (Cherry Harker in a bikini in the 60s)

 

 



It wasn't until she got bored in her senior years that the impressive septuagenarian, who has already beaten breast and cervical cancer, decided to tackle the problem for the sporty beachgoer (a model above wearing a ZwimZuit bikini)

 

 


'The bikinis of yesteryear were for posing. The expensive French ones were made out of cotton with elastic, making them pretty unstable.

'I've always had this idea of wanting to do these bikinis and I think today's sporty girl wants something that she can go out and perform in, without worrying her bikini bottoms are going to fall off or her straps slip down.

'With my range it's about having the right cut combined with the neoprene material, it holds everything in place but it's still comfortable.

'The high quality neoprene dries very quickly and it's not going to let you down if you're waterskiing, paddleboarding, surfing, anything like that.'


Cherry says: 'I pretty much learnt how to water-ski one-handed - one hand on the tow-handle and the other holding my briefs up. And I noticed that quite often some women lost their swimwear when they dived in to a pool' (Cherry in Monaco in 1958 when she was 22)

 


She continues: 'I've always had this idea of wanting to do these bikinis and I think today's sporty girl wants something that she can go out and perform in without worrying her bikini bottoms are going to fall off or her straps slip down' (Cherry in Monaco at 17)

 

She is now shunning retirement to fulfil her life-long goal. She launched her sports performance brand in July and runs it from her home.

Cherry managed to find one of the few remaining specialist swimwear makers just 40 minutes from her house in Poole, Dorset.

But her business has already gone global with customers in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Dubai and Hawaii snapping up her £69 to £89 bikinis.


She is now shunning retirement to fulfil her life-long goal. She launched her sports performance brand in July and runs it from her home. Cherry managed to find one of the few remaining specialist swimwear makers just 40 minutes from her house in Poole, Dorset (above, a model in her swimwear range)

 

And while many over 70s would struggle with social media and technology, Cherry is an avid Instagram user, connecting with customers all over the world.

Cherry's lifelong love of bikinis, which started with her holidays in the south of France in an era of glamour where she was surrounded by style icons like Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot, was useful knowledge and experience for her new business.

But she also utilised family skills, with daughter Tamarisk, a costume designer in London, helping Cherry design the range and husband John helping with orders and monitoring social media. 


Her business has already gone global with customers in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Dubai and Hawaii. And while many over 70s would struggle with social media and technology, Cherry is an avid Instagram user, connecting with customers all over the world

 

 
Cherry said: 'I've always been involved with my husband John's entrepreneurial schemes over the years and when he sold his last business in 2012 I thought 'what are we going to do now?'
 
 
 

Cherry said: 'I've always been involved with my husband John's entrepreneurial schemes over the years and when he sold his last business in 2012 I thought "what are we going to do now?"

'We launched in July and we're selling directly to people all over the world. I've got customers in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Dubai and Hawaii.

'It's a little cottage industry at home, I do all the packing up and post them all over the world from the local post office.


She says: 'We launched in July and we're selling directly to people all over the world. I've got customers in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Dubai and Hawaii. It's a little cottage industry at home, I do all the packing up and post them all over the world from the local post office'

 

 


'I never really thought of retiring, what do people do when they retire? My father died at 90 but he was fit and healthy and doing things right up to the end and he always said you've got to have a project' (Cherry in Monaco at 17)

 

 


So far Cherry has four different designs, each in three different colours, and hopes to expand the business further in the future. Prices range from £69 to £89 and can be found at zwimzuit.com

 

 

'I never really thought of retiring, what do people do when they retire? My father died at 90 but he was fit and healthy and doing things right up to the end and he always said you've got to have a project.

'People do tend to live a lot longer now and I think one of the ways to remain healthy is to be active and always looking forward.'

So far Cherry has four different designs, each in three different colours, and hopes to expand the business further in the future.