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Humble David honoured to be named Alfred H Turner Award winner

Humble David Robinson said he was greatly honoured to be named the recipient of the Swim England Alfred H Turner Award – but believed there were more worthy winners.

“I do not think I do any more than hundreds and hundreds of other people,” said the surprised 74-year-old. “It seems unbelievable that it’s for me.”

Yet David is certainly playing down the commitment he has made to swimming.

Having joined Mildenhall and District Swimming Club in 1979 when his two children started lessons there, David has since dedicated a large proportion of the last 41 years to the sport.

Despite never being a competitive swimmer himself, he has held various voluntary roles at club, county and regional level – and, prior to lockdown, was still regularly officiating at events across the country.

“When looking at the list of previous winners and reading their stories I feel greatly honoured to receive this award and thank whoever it was from the East Region that nominated me,” he said.

“There are plenty of others who are more worthy I think.

I just plod along

“When I have attended the President’s dinner after the Swim England AGM, I see people go up and they all seem to have done so much more.

“I think I just plod along.”

David’s record suggested that’s far from the case.

He has been a member of the Suffolk County ASA for 35 years and a member of the East Region’s board since it was formed in 2005.

Roles he has held at club and county level include team manager, secretary, chairman and president.

He says being appointed East Region President in 2011 is one of the highlights of his time in the sport.

David has also been masters manager and records officer for the East Region, secretary and treasurer of the Fenland Swimming League and he is currently a vice-president of Mildenhall and District Swimming Club.

I love the sport

And when you add to that his work as a national referee and also trainer of officials, it’s clear why he was selected to receive the accolade.

“I did not envisage being part of the club for so many years,” he said. “But I love the sport and I’m missing it – I’ve made a lot of friends in the swimming fraternity.

“Pre-lockdown, I was officiating most weekends of the year and if I wasn’t at a swimming gala, I’d be at a swimming meeting somewhere.

“During this period, I’ve been doing a bit of research and updated some masters relay records from the last 10 years. That’s kept me going for a little while.

“I’ve kept myself busy but I’m running out of little jobs to do now.”

While David is extremely thankful to who nominated him for the award, he saves special gratitude for his wife, Jane.

“I would like to thank Jane for her support of my ‘hobby’ over the last 40 plus years,” he said. “She has never complained when I’ve said I’m not able to make something because I have committed to a gala.”

  • If David’s story has inspired you, visit our volunteering pages to find out how you can get involved and take the first steps on your aquatics volunteering journey

About the Alfred H Turner Award

The Alfred H Turner 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.
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