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A nation swimming

Family thankful for tributes to former ASA President Ray and his wife Janet

The family of a former Amateur Swimming Association President and his wife who both died within weeks of each other have thanked the aquatics community for its support.

Ray and Janet Hedger both were highly-respected members of Woking Swimming Club and, as tutors, played a key role in helping swimming teachers achieve their qualifications over a number of years.

Former ASA President Ray, who held the role in 2014-15, died on Wednesday 11 March after a few years battling cancer, aged 86.

Following his funeral, Janet fell ill and passed away in hospital on Sunday 5 April, aged 85.

The couple’s son, John Hedger, thanked everyone who had sent messages of condolences to the family.

He said: “My brother, Douglas, and I were keen swimmers when we were younger and have been very touched by all the kind messages from the swimming community near and far describing our parents’ dedication to the sport and the friendships they formed.”

Dedicated volunteers

Ray was a former water polo player who became an ASA teacher, club coach and a dedicated volunteer poolside.

He was an honorary life member of Woking SC and also held key roles at club, county, regional and national level.

A piece about his appointment as ASA President in the 2015 handbook read: “Over the years, Ray has, without doubt, clearly demonstrated his ability to take on a high workload and acknowledges the support of his wife, Janet, who was involved in all aspects, at all levels of the ASA Education system.

“He continues to show total commitment to the various roles he has undertaken in sport and his appointment as ASA President is very well deserved.”

Janet was also an honorary life member of Woking Swimming Club, a huge supporter of swimming and a qualified teacher, staff tutor, lecturer and examiner, who helped many achieve their qualifications.

She sat for many years on the ASA National Education Committee and was herself a former President of Surry and Southern Counties ASA.

Wealth of experience

A tribute piece to Ray on the Swim England South East region website said: “Ray had an absolute wealth of experience in so many areas of expertise.

“The fact that he had been involved in a range of sports as an athlete and also committed so much time as a volunteer and official placed him in the best position to be able to see the big picture and champion the rights of everyone to take part in sport.

“Ray was a highly respected member of the South East Regional Management Board until his departure in 2016, and valued for his wise counsel.”

Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, paid tribute to Ray and Janet for their commitment to the sport over the years.

She said: “We were deeply saddened to hear the news about Ray and Janet and pass on our condolences to their family and friends.

“They were both dedicated to aquatics in the South East Region and beyond and will be greatly missed.”