Tony Stratford, Ray Mayell and Brian Davis
It is with great sadness that we inform you that in the last few months, Swindon Dolphin have lost three highly valued retired coaches: Tony Stratford, Brian Davis and Ray Mayell.
All three have given many years of dedication and service on a voluntary basis to the club, and former Chief Coaches Tessa Farr and Louise Oliver (nee Clayton) look back on their lives and the contribution they made to Swindon Dolphin.
Tony was a member of Swindon Dolphin for over 45 years. Initially, he taught in the small pool and progressed to coaching in the large pool at Milton Road Pools (as they were known back in the day) going on to become Chief Coach for many years. He was very dedicated to his roles and his connection and devotion with the swimmers was apparent for all to see. He also coached the masters team for some of this time. His love and passion for the whole club was evident, with many a weekend taken up and hours of time on the poolside, as a referee or judge at galas and open meets; some of these he even organised himself. He officiated at Club, County, District and National Levels, all of which he was well respected wherever he went. His hard work across the many areas of the sport gained him a position of President for Wiltshire Swimming Association and also Club President. Away from poolside, Tony worked hard on the committee, his main role in the latter years was as Club Treasurer and this created many hours of well-loved work. He was a member of the county committee for many years. Tony did all this with the full support of his truly devoted wife, Pat. Tony was a great promoter of the sport, a hugely respected member of Dolphin, a well-respected and much-loved gentleman. He will be greatly missed by all who had the honour of working with and being coached by him. Tony sadly passed away on the 14th December 2021.
Ray also taught and coached for many years and was much loved in the small pool by many youngsters. Well known by his nick name as sergeant major he gained a great respect from the children. Ray coached in the large pool for around 30 years. He officiated as a judge at Club and County level. Another very dedicated member of Swindon Dolphin, who will be greatly missed. Ray sadly passed away on the 19th September, 2021.
Brian started swimming with Swindon Dolphin as a young boy and soon found his love of water polo, he travelled the country swimming and playing water polo for many years. He gave a lot back to the sport with this great love for swimming and taught and coached in both disciplines. Brian was also on the Dolphin committee and represented the club at county meetings. Like Tony and Ray; Brian officiated at Club and County levels. Brian eventually retired from coaching after more than 30 years, but still continued to swim for the club in the Masters meets and competed at Club, County, District and National Level, winning a huge number of medals of all colours. Brian’s dedication to swimming shone through as he swam until he was well into his 80’s. Brian sadly passed away on the 17th December, 2021.
All three of these coaches leave a huge hole in the Dolphin family and will be greatly missed by their friends and colleagues far and wide. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of their respective families at this difficult time.
Tessa Farr - Chief Coach 1989 to 1997, Assistant Chief Coach 1997 to 2017
Louise Oliver - Chief Coach 2009 to 2018