She has been making a splash for Teesside swimmers of all ages and abilities for 27 years, dedicating up to 30 hours a week to teach, coach, lead and administer.
Now Sue Campion’s selfless dedication and drive has been recognised with a Teesside Heroes Award.
The awards are presented to unsung community champions by Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, a charitable movement that has raised more than £600,000 for local causes in just three years.
A surprised Sue, who has been chair of Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club for the past seven years, received her award and a £1,000 cheque for MASC in a poolside presentation at The Neptune, watched by delighted young swimmers and their parents.
Pronouncing herself “gobsmacked” by her award, the Linthorpe mum-of-two said: “I get a real buzz out seeing the amazing effect swimming has on people’s lives.
“It gives young people confidence and fitness, as well as teaching them life skills such as self-discipline, teamwork and dedication.
Sue, who typically dedicates four nights a week and a full day at the weekend to MASC, has been involved with the club ever since introducing her own children, Ben and Hannah, to swimming in 1987.
Hannah later taught and coached at the club, while husband Sam was a swimming teacher for 14 years and continues to swim there on a regular basis.
“Unlike Sam, I don’t actually particularly like swimming personally,” admitted Sue. “But I do love to encourage others to take part, whether that’s by teaching beginners, coaching our best swimmers or doing all the things that need doing to run the club efficiently.
“Ultimately, I do it because I love it. I get such tremendous satisfaction from seeing young people progress and grow in confidence, no matter what their ability.”
Middlesbrough swimmer Aimee Willmott, a 2012 Olympian and a medal favourite for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, said: “Sue has a central figure at MASC for as long as I can remember. She is always so encouraging and only wants the best for everyone.
“Apart from teaching and coaching, she does so much that goes unnoticed but is so important to the running of the club. She absolutely deserves an award like this.”
Andy Preston, chairman of the Philanthropic Foundation, added: “Sue has been a real driving force behind the swimming club for many years, giving up 30 hours a week of her own time, so she is truly a Teesside Hero.
“Without people like Sue and her fellow coaches, Sue and Terry Hine, clubs like MASC simply wouldn’t exist, so there are literally thousands of local people who should be thankful for their dedication.”
Jamie Brown and his sister Catherine Devereux, of Foundation patrons The Endeavour Partnership LLP, presented the award along with a £1,000 cheque for the swimming club.
Sue revealed that the money would go towards the club’s efforts to keep its head above the water after a series of funding cuts.
The club needs up to £5,000 a year for each of its five squads to cover the costs of coaching, travel and pool hire.
“We want swimming to remain accessible to all, not just those who can afford it,” said Sue. “If you have a talent then it’s our belief that you should be able to do all you can to fulfill it, regardless of finance.”
Along with a trophy, Sue will also receive vouchers for a local restaurant and a place on the Boro Brick Road at the home of Foundation patrons’ Middlesbrough FC, with her brick reading “Sue Campion – Teesside Hero”.