Tributes to long-serving swimming club member

Peter Rushworth.
Peter Rushworth.

A Morpeth resident who was instrumental in the formation of Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) has died at the age of 86.

Peter Rushworth was also chairman of the Morpeth Sports Council, which annually presents awards to successful teams and individuals in the area.

When he moved to Morpeth in 1959, he had already coached swimmers to become county and regional champions in his role as head coach at Sunderland Amateur Swimming Club.

There was no pool in the town at the time, so he continued his coaching by joining the City of Newcastle Amateur Swimming Club.

In 1967, he attended a public meeting at Morpeth Town Hall, which had been called to discuss the building of a swimming pool in Morpeth. Working with the local authority, this aspiration was fulfilled.

MASC was formed in March 1969, with Peter appointed as head coach and secretary. It achieved some great success over the years.

He continued as secretary until April 1989. His role included liaison with local authorities and pool management and fund-raising.

He was head coach until the appointment of a professional coach in 2001.

Without his expertise, advice and guidance, the club would not have succeeded in the teaching of more than 700 children to swim.

Although he was in full employment for many years, he dedicated his spare time to give youngsters the opportunity to learn a valuable skill.

In addition, he has mentored many adults and children through all stages of teaching and coaching.

Together with several parents, Peter applied his enthusiasm, knowledge and organisational skills to form the first committee for the club. He became club president in 1991 and was in the role up until his death.

He was married to Minnie for 64 years and she hosted monthly committee meetings at their home on Monday nights after a training session.

He continued to swim competitively for a number of years, achieving several gold and silver medals in masters competitions in 2005.

In recent years, Peter retained an active involvement with coaching activities on the pool side whenever possible.