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Alan Boyle says being awarded Harold Fern Award ‘means a lot’ to him

Alan Boyle was awarded the Harold Fern Award at the Swim England National Awards ceremony on Saturday after dedicating more than 60 years of his spare time to water polo and swimming.

His dedication to aquatics throughout the years has seen him coach, tutor, referee and administer swimming and water polo from grassroots to the highest levels within the regional and national governing bodies.

He’s been associated with Warrington Swimming Club since 1952 and was awarded an MBE for his services to swimming and water polo in 2015.

Alan said that receiving this award is one of the highlights of a glittering career.

He said: “It feels really good to be recognised with this award. I first joined a swimming club in 1952 and have been involved in the sport for more than 60 years so it means a lot.”

“I’ve had so many great moments, too many to mention but this award is definitely one of my highlights.”

An interesting introduction

Alan has had many roles within aquatics, but he may never have been involved if it wasn’t for an accident at a young age.

“The way I got into the sport was a weird one really. I fell into the canal at 10 years of age and straight after that my mum decided I should learn to swim.

“So that’s when I went to my local club (Warrington) to learn and after a while the senior polo members decided I was good enough to join the water polo team.

“In those days, we only had senior squads, so I joined the senior team at just 14 years old and played for 21 years before moving into coaching.”

After winning 10 club swimming championships and his impressive water polo playing career, Alan took on the coaching role at the club and has led a number of athletes into senior British squads with some even competing at the Olympic Games.

Recently he coached Rafik Tahraoui who was part of Great Britain’s men’s water polo squad that qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Hazel Musgrove who represented Britain’s women’s team at the Olympics.

Alan had the honour of coaching his club for a number of years and said he’s proud of all the athletes he’s coached.

“I was so proud of all my athletes and when I was watching those that made the British and Olympic squads, I was so happy for them.”

‘I never expected anything for it’

After a lifetime of service to the sport, Alan said he naturally wanted to give back to the sport and wanted to take the time to thank all those who helped him over the years.

“I just enjoyed it, there were times when I spent five nights a week in water polo, I just did it because I wanted to.

“I naturally wanted to continue in the sport in any way I could and at any level I could.

“As much as I enjoyed it, I wanted to give back to water polo just as much too.

“I never expected any award for it, I just did it.

“Thank you to my wife who supported me for years, because she helped me get to meetings and she was involved herself for so long too. It was something we did together.

“And also, all of the people on various committees and those that I’ve worked with other the years. Being involved in the sport has allowed me to make friends for life and I encourage anyone to get involved.”

About the Harold Fern Award

The Harold Fern Award is given to the individual or organisation making the most outstanding contribution to aquatics at club, county, regional, national or international level.

In selecting the winner of the award each year, the Board will give consideration to the following:

  • outstanding achievement in advancing the sport through competition/coaching/officiating
  • outstanding achievement in the administration of the sport
  • outstanding achievement in advising the sport.