A Tees couple who taught Middlesbrough Olympian Aimee Willmott when she was a beginner have been recognised for their dedication during 35 years as volunteer swimming coaches.
Retired British Steel worker Terry Hine and his wife Sue are two of the many coaches who have helped Ormesby girl Aimee to become a leading medal contender at this summer’s Rio Olympics.
Now the Acklam couple, who taught Aimee when she was just eight years old, have received a Teesside Heroes Award.
They received their award in recognition of their long service to hundreds of swimmers they have taught at Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club since first getting the coaching bug back in 1982.
And they have now donated £1,000 they received as part of their award towards the future of a club they describe as their “extended family”.
“We remember coaching Aimee when she was about eight years old,” smiled Sue. “She was always talented but we could never have predicted how far she would go.
“It was fantastic to see her compete at the last Olympics in London. This time around we’d like to see her get a medal – of any colour.”
Terry and Sue became involved with the swimming club when attending lessons at the old Berwick Hills Baths with their own children, Chris, James and Stephen more than 30 years ago.
Though neither had swam apart from their annual holidays since their school days, they agreed to take over the beginners’ classes when the coach retired – and neither have looked back since.
Their influence meant daughter Stacey learned to swim when she was just two years old, while they’ve since taught their own grandchildren, along with “countless” others Teessiders.
Sue, who coaches beginners to adults up to 11 hours a week at Middlesbrough’s Rainbow Centre, said: “It’s superb to be able to teach kids a life skill. It gives you the biggest buzz to see a child swim across the pool for the first time after seeing them get in the pool unable to swim a stroke.”
Terry, a former fell runner who is also an athletics coach at Mandale Harriers, has coached squads up to national level, reflected: “The club has been such a big part of our lives. It is a big commitment but we do it because we enjoy it. People stop us in the street and say ‘You taught me to swim 20 years ago’. We’re now at the point where we’re teaching the grandkids of those we taught.”
The couple were nominated as Teesside Heroes by Sue Campion, herself a former recipient of the award who has also dedicated much of her life to the swimming club.
She said: “Sue and Terry work quietly behind the scenes, always giving their time and support generously to young swimmers and fellow volunteers. They have always been full of enthusiasm, updating their skills whilst also acting as our recruitment officers, leading fundraising events and working at galas.”
Along with £1,000 for the swimming club, Sue and Terry received a trophy and a voucher for Billingham restaurant Mohujo’s, presented by Dave Atkins of the Philanthropic Foundation’s patrons, Stockton company PASS.
- Do you know an unsung community champion who deserves a Teesside Heroes Award? Nominate stalwart volunteers via the Get Involved page on teessidecharity.org.uk. They could win £1,000 for a local good cause of their choice.