Swim England

A nation swimming

Tributes paid to perfect gentleman and dedicated volunteer, Alan Bartlett

Dedicated, remarkable, special and a perfect gentleman – just some of the accolades bestowed on long-standing volunteer Alan Bartlett, who has died at the age of 79.

Alan devoted his life to the sport, holding numerous roles at club, county, regional and national level.

He joined Stourbridge Swimming Club in 1952 as a seven-year-old swimmer – and by the time he’d reached 16, he was a member of the club’s committee and that started a remarkable journey.

Alan eventually held the roles of club chairman and president between 1972 and 1979 before playing a leading role in the sport at county and regional level.

He was also an official and referee at international level and served on most of the committees in Worcester county for more than 40 years.

In 2006, Alan was recognised by the Amateur Swimming Association by being presented with the prestigious Harold Fern Award.

The award is given to the organisation or individual who has made the most outstanding contribution to swimming at national or international level

Alan was named as the Amateur Swimming Association vice-president in 2008 but didn’t serve as President due to illness.

He was awarded the MBE for services to swimming in 2015.

Someone special

Bernard Simkins, a member of the West Midlands Region Board, who also is a Swim England Board member, penned the citation for Alan’s MBE nomination.

In it he wrote: “In the sport of swimming, there are many who give of their time freely but all would agree that Alan is simply someone special. 

“To have held so many important roles, many at the same time, in the sport consistently for 60 years is quite remarkable. 

“I doubt if there is another person with a CV that is as long and so diverse, touching on all aspects of swimming as a sport. 

“He was a truly superb, dedicated unpaid volunteer with great ability and I must say humility who has made a major difference to swimming, especially in the West Midlands but also nationally.

“In every role that Alan has undertaken, and there have been many, he made a difference. He challenged existing thinking but has also offered solutions and a new way forward.”

Bernard added his own personal tribute saying: “Alan was dedicated to the sport of swimming all his life and to charity work. 

“A life member of my club Stourbridge I first knew him as an experienced official but got to know him better at county meetings and I met his wife Ann. When I joined the Region 17 years ago he mentored and encouraged me and we became friends. 

“He was the epitome of a person who worked behind the scenes, especially as ill health started to take its toll, but whose experience and guidance was so invaluable. He was a Swim England Friend and was perfect for that role, helping clubs and individuals with advice and guidance. 

Unsung hero

“He will be sadly missed.” 

Simon Kirkland, West Midlands Regional Chair, said: “Alan was one of those volunteers that operates in the background and did so much to make sure West Midlands and Worcester Swimming operated. 

“His commitment was recognised by the late Queen and that says everything about Alan as one of those unsung heroes of swimming. 

“Many of our clubs will have benefitted from his expertise in constitutions and officiating – he is already sadly missed.” 

Vivienne Hewitt, County Secretary Worcester ASA, added: “I have known Alan Bartlett since 1993 when he became my mentor as I progressed through the various Officials examinations until I reached Referee in 1999. 

“He became a trusted friend and we worked together both poolside and on the County Management Board until he stepped back following his illness in 2016. 

“Alan remained my mentor, always at the end of the phone, freely giving his wise consul on the various matters concerning this sport of ours. 

“He was a perfect gentleman, kind, considerate, charitable, and respected by everyone who knew him in our County and I will miss him immensely.” 

Alan leaves behind his wife, Ann, and loving family.