Swimming world mourns the loss of great teacher

21 January 2011

The swimming world is today mourning the loss of Shirley Bourge, a popular swimming teacher, who passed away during the early hours of this morning (21st January 2011).

One of the most loved stalwarts of swimming in Wales, Shirley dedicated nearly three decades teaching people of all ages and abilities across Cardiff to swim, even playing a role in teaching Paralympic Champion Ellie Simmonds and Olympic medallist David Davies, who both participated in her lessons when they were younger.

At 66-years-of-age Shirley’s enthusiasm for the sport and teaching new skills never dwindled, also teaching life saving courses and starting a Disability swimming club at Eastern Leisure Centre to get more people involved.

In March 2008 Shirley was diagnosed with breast cancer and after going through many months of treatment was  given the all-clear, but it was in February last year she was given the bad news that  she was terminally ill with mesothelioma cancer, a form of lung cancer.

Maintaining a positive outlook Shirley helped to organise a sponsored swim for mesothelioma research and watched on as over 60 entrants swam to raise over £2,600 donated to the Llandough Lung Cancer Care Unit.

"I worked with Shirley for a number of years and nothing was too much trouble for her. She was one of life’s truly good people and it is a very sad loss to swimming,” said Mandy Mason, one of the ASA’s Aquatics Officers.

“She was a joy to work with and always made me feel welcome, even offering me a bed for the night should I wish to come to Cardiff as a tourist. My love and best wishes go out to her family and friends.”

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