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‘Cheerful and bright’ Bob Bolton wins prestigious Masters Cherriman Award

Trafford Metro Swimming Club chairperson Bob Bolton was pleasantly surprised when he was announced as the Cherriman Award winner.

The annual award is given to an exceptional individual who inspires others or works tirelessly behind the scenes to help the Masters community.

Bob has been doing exactly that for a number of years during his roles as chairperson on the Cheshire County Swimming Committee, on the North West board of directors, North West Masters secretary and also a tutor for swimming.

He was presented the award by Swim England president, Ian Mackenzie, and chairperson of the Swim England Masters Working Group, Jeroen Peters, at the recent Swim England Masters National Championships 2021.

On receiving the award, he said: “Knowing a little bit of the history of the Cherriman Award and when you know some of the people who’ve received it before, you feel a little bit ‘wow, why me?’ compared to these other guys.

“It’s nice to be thought of in a similar sort of vein because there are some pretty serious movers and shakers in the Masters community that have won it before.

Masters community is second to none

“I’ve been a swimmer all my life – started in 1965 and have always been involved with swimming. I’ve dipped in and out during my lifetime – played water polo as well.

“My children swam and I became involved in the coaching side of things as well as swimming.

“I’m a serial interfering volunteer busy body really so wherever I go I end up volunteering for something, so swimming was a natural progression.

“I’ve coached for more years than I can remember and I’ve always been involved in various committees. If it involves swimmers in the water, I’m happy to be involved!

“Ever since I first came to Masters events back in the mid 90s, you just see a friendship, a fellowship of Masters swimming, which is so different to age group swimming.

“The Masters community is second to none – it’s absolutely fantastic. I meet people that I’ve known for donkey’s years from all over the country and it’s great to meet up with them.

“You meet rivals, friends that you’ve not seen for many years – it’s just a wonderful community.”

Cheerful, kind and caring

Many of the Trafford Metro swimmers have also paid tribute to Bob and shared some stories about the positive impact he has had on their individual journeys.

Sean Peers said: “For the hours and hours he spends at training sessions as well as competitions most weekends, either coaching or officiating, it must take over his life!

“I’ve never heard him complain once, embracing it, and always showing complete dedication. Being there to help swimmers with technique tips and providing advice on anything Masters swimming related is extremely beneficial and invaluable.

“It’s a real pleasure to have him as the coach of our masters squad and I hope that this can continue for years to come.”

Barbara Williams explained that Bob always goes ‘the extra mile’ for everyone.

She added: “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Bob for the past six years – he’s so deserving of this award, he’s the best coach ever.

“So supportive, whether you are a top swimmer or just swimming for pleasure. He is encouraging, positive and someone who goes the extra mile for everyone in his club.

“He is always cheerful, kind and caring – that’s our Bob and we love him.”

Dawn Adams expressed her appreciation for all that Bob does saying: “He is so supportive of all people he meets and gives us all so much of his time.

“Bob is always cheerful and bright and nothing is too much trouble for him.

“He personally supported me to come back to swimming after a personal tragedy had stopped me from swimming for many years.

“He didn’t know why I hadn’t swum for so long but his encouragement was boundless. I really do appreciate all that Bob does for swimming!”