Chairman’s Blog – Col Simmons

Chairman’s Blog – Col Simmons

‘Even though we are not back swimming, yet, there is still plenty going on behind the scenes. With this in mind I thought I would share an insight into the Chairs commitments over the next week or so. Keeping up to date with the necessary and relevant information is important to us at Kingfishers. On Sunday I completed an on-line safeguarding course designed to bring me up to date with the ‘digital age’ with regard to club members. Yesterday I joined with Vicky to attend a teams meeting with Every One active to plan the return to swimming. Our monthly teams Committee meeting is this Thursday evening, the main discussions will be around membership, finance, open water restart, open meets and what courses are available to continue to train our coaches, helpers and volunteers. Next Tuesday I will attend a virtual teams meeting with North East Swimming to discuss the role of a club chair during the lock down and beyond. Along with the other committee members we are planning to be ready when Boris nods his head Swimming’s way.

Stay safe everyone.

Meet the Committee Series 12 + 1 (superstitious)

Here is the 12th plus 1 and final installment in our Meet the Committee series and we end the series with our Club President

Maureen Dickinson

We hope you have all enjoyed getting to know the committee a little better.

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club?
A: Club President and Swimming teacher
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: 1976 when my daughter joined as a junior member
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: Sitting in the gallery wasn’t for me so I tackled any task that needed a volunteer, progressing through the ASA, RLSS and STA Teaching and coaching and Judging programs back in the 80’s and 90’s
I always tried to steer clear of joining the Committee because I spent so much of my time poolside, organising, and attending galas and as open water coach I was traveling with the team every weekend during the warmer months. However, when invited to become President of the Club the Privilege and honour was one, I could not refuse.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: I can swim and do when possible, had to complete RLSS water tests for teaching purposes and my claim to fame was a Castle Foot swim back in the day
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time heroes?
A: Retired Dental Nurse and Tutor. I am a founder member of the Orthodontic National Group for Dental Nurses.
As a group we had a mountain to climb lobbying parliament to open the dentists act, this allowed us to formulate a career pathway for post qual specialist training, developing exams syllabus and format, for nurses and eventually therapists. I hated retirement I was suddenly without a fight or cause! So I became a volunteer at the hospice the gentle pace suits my new energy levels. Old age has nothing to recommend it apart from a head full of memories
Favourite pastime – after swimming!
Watching athletic sporting events – Open water training and Championship
Heroes after my family!
Mark Spitz, Adrian Moorhouse and more recently Adam Peaty
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
A: Annoys me? -Takers rather than givers and anyone who is not prepared to walk a year in our volunteers’ shoes.
Makes me Happy? – having the ability to share with and teach a child life changing and lifesaving skills and being a small part of their journey through the ranks of swimmers from beginners to pool-side helpers.
Kingfishers has been a significant part of mine and my family’s life for the past 45 years and has given us so many treasured experiences and memories. Plus the opportunity to work with and meet so many outstanding swimmers and families and forge so many rewarding friendships.

Meet the Committee Series 12

Here is the 12th and penultimate installment in our Meet the Committee series, our club chair

Colin Simmons

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club?
A: I’m very proud to be Club Chair, currently in my 2nd year.
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: 2003. I was looking for a swimming club for my daughter Chloe to join and the club was recommended by Ginny Wilkinson, Chloe’s Pre school teacher. Chloe spent 2years as Club Captain.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: Dave Cracknell identified me as a potential timekeeper, my first gig was a friendly gala at Whitby, then Team manager followed by joining the Committee, then various roles within the committee over the years
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: I can swim, but lets leave it there!
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: Driving Instructor / Sport / Outdoor activities – Fresh Air! / David Bowie / Mohammed Ali
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
A: I wish that all parents and carers would realise that we are only doing our best and instead of criticising from afar come closer and offer solutions.
Home Galas and club championships, when I see the fun that everyone is having while achieving personal and club goals.

Meet the Committee Series 11

Here is the 11th installment of the Meet the Committee Series

Vicky Gough

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club?A: My current role is Honorary Secretary and Covid Lead. I also help with the front desk when the open water squad are at the lake. My husband is part of the safety crew and has also supported all sea swim challenges as well as taking some of the open water volunteers dolphin watching.When I was on the committee previously I headed up the fundraising.

Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?

A: My son Oliver joined the learn to swim programme when the club was at the old pool in May 2016 testing the patience of

Margaret Alice Hope, Jane Sedman, Maureen Dickinson and Katie Lee. The friendly atmosphere appealed to us. We were already involved with the open water team as the support boat for sea swims including the staithes to speeton challenge.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: I joined the committee in October 2016 and took on the role of fundraising. I left the committee two years later due to family commitments but still helped out where I could be it at recording at club champs, supporting at the lake for open water swimmers or counting lanes at badge night while in the latter stages of pregnancy.
I rejoined the committee in January 2020. Replace is the wrong word to use here as I can not do that but I took up the challenge of being the club secretary with the aim of doing a reasonable job that Amanda Lee would have been proud of. Little did I know at the time that this would include all the challenges covid would bring including spending the last month of maternity leave in meetings to plan the club’s return to the pool.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: Many many many years ago I did swim at club level a few miles down the road but now it’s not a great sight and my front crawl is even worse.
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: Teacher (full time at a special school)
A: baking, being outdoors,
A: My gran
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
A: It often feels like the time volunteers put it is not appreciated or understood.
A The Kingfishers family pulls together when it is needed. This is often led by our president Maureen Dickinson and Paula Ambury whether it be at the pool or the lake. Thank you to you both for all that you do for the club

Meet the Committee Series 10

Here is the 10th installment in our Meet the Committee series

Kay Noble

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club?
A: Head of Fundraising
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: March 2017, Niambh attended Everyone Active lessons both at Scarborough & Malton but I felt that they were contradicting each other and wanted something better and consistent. I was leaving the old pool after a lesson when Kingfishers were setting up. I asked Amanda & Paula how to join and never looked back.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: Amanda asked me if I was interested in taking on the roll and thought why not. You can only try your best and think I have done a pretty good job in my 1st year raising over £3,000.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: I can swim but not a pretty site with my lockdown belly. I wish my mum had made me join a swimming club rather than ballet. My brother and I would go every Saturday afternoon to the indoor pool whilst mum was busy working. We are both very competitive which unfortunately have passed to both our daughters who have a 1 year age gap.
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: Company Director of MKN Surveyors( my husband & myself company)/ I love walking my dog and having a good chat to friends / 2 people – my grandad & great uncle both who served 20+ years on the Scarborough Lifeboat saving many lives and putting their own on the line. Both were on the lifeboat when it tragically overturned in the south bay with 3 mens lives lost. They survived as my great grandad said to them – “ what ever you do hold on , it will come right and roll right over”.
Me & my family love going to Disney world in Florida. 1 st went in 1984 when my grandad wanted to go so took me & my brother as an excuse so he wouldn’t feel out of place.
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
A: Got to be moaning from unhappy parents (only natural) but I would expect it from kids not adults. If your not happy please tell 1 of us on the committee, we are human and are here voluntarily trying our hardest. Theres a lot of great kids in the club who mostly get on well with each other and will help the young ones especially when needed. This is especially noticeable when we are at the galas which will hopefully return soon

Meet the Committee Series 9

Here is the 9th installment in the Meet the Committee series

Brian De-Alker

Q: What is your role at the Club?
A: Treasurer, Swim England membership and ‘boring’ stuff (after a year bringing things together that Amanda used to do, we will be looking for volunteers post Covid!). Includes the other things we have to do to operate as a club; club insurances, DBS and Safeguarding, HMRC, Gift Aid (please tick the box in Swim Manager – it costs you nothing but means the club can gain more from your membership!) and Swim Mark (we are assessed every 2 years by Swim England). We have worked hard to bring in new tools like Swim Manager which, Covid aside, help greatly in reducing the burden on volunteers. I’m also signed off on time keeping am a Swim Teacher and Team Manager amongst other things.
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: In 2015, after moving to Scarborough I was looking for a swimming club for my daughters that also swam Open Water. Kirsty DM did a very good sales talk and explained all that the club did. They started in the pool and Elisha was also given a great welcome at the Lake by Paula, Maureen and Amanda, soon joining the 2017 Channel Relay Team. Also there was cake!
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: Kirsty and Ginny got to know I had set up a swimming club with a group of families when living abroad and I deliberately declined repeated invitations to join the committee for a year, based on previous learnings, to see what went on and how the club worked. Amanda later found out, then there was no escape. Ginny wasn’t easy to avoid either. I joined in the year running up to the move to the Sports Village and did the membership renewals in 2017, later became an officer and eventually left for a short period after 3 years as Chair, in 2020. I returned last February to assist with administration.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: Yes – but not enough to be a great front crawler – mainly breaststroke (as the family grew up life got busy). In the years BC (before children) I moved around with work and swam open air in the sea where it was always 28 degrees (yes, that was the water temperature) and the open air pools did not need to be heated! After moving to Ireland, much more bracing in the Irish Sea with Elisha (summer only) and in a (heated) pool. I currently swim at Ryedale Swim and Fitness before or after work.
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: Currently Duty Manager at Ryedale Swim and Fitness and manager of the swim scheme. I am a Swim Teacher, Rookie Lifeguard instructor and Lifeguard and look after pool plant. I love to cook Asian food, walk and swim. Hero … difficult one but as a breaststroke swimmer it has to be Adam Peaty. Can he go any faster?
(Disclaimer: For the record, I don’t get involved in meetings or negotiations with the pool operator for the club. They are always dealt with by the Secretary and Colin who report to the full committee).
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
Start with Happy! Kingfishers is a great community with a strong spirit going back years – and for those wanting to give something back it is a great place to be. It supports swimming members and volunteers and encourages them to gain skills and work with others The planned enhancements to the youth development and leadership programme with Swim England will also give opportunities for younger members to step forward and be supported.
The negatives are not all ‘bad’ – a lot has changed in recent years. The club used to be run on paper and not have membership emails and this took ages to change, first internally with Microsoft365 then externally to members with Swim Manager last year.
Like most clubs factions can develop from time to time that tend to be, with the best of intentions, inward looking and somewhat self focused. I encourage anyone with an issue to get involved and see the bigger picture and look to make change, building on what is already in place rather than being negative and looking to criticise the good work of our volunteers, who give their time unquestionably in good faith to keep things going – especially during this very strange time. If an issue is approached on a positive and inclusive basis it should be discussed on its merits and changes can be made, if it is the right thing to do for the greater good. The club secretary is the first point of contact.
Whilst it is true several open water past parents stepped in a few years back to help the club reform its governance, with several retirements and a lack of new faces at the time, it is my opinion that we are in debt to them for what they achieved to get us where we are today.
Please remember the club is one, and is bigger than we each are individually. It is here for everyone and not just one swimmer, one squad or one parent.
If you have a great idea for change or you want a problem looked at, get involved and don’t let it fester. The committee works for the benefit of all members rather than just a select few and will debate and support all good ideas and make change if it can – for the benefit of all our swimmers!

Meet the Committee Series 8

Here is the 8th installment in our Meet the Committee series

Charlotte Adams


Q: What is your role(s) at the Club?
A: I am an assistant coach, parent, swimmer (sometimes) and committee member!
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: I joined the club in the 90s as a competitive swimmer after leaving a different club. I later returned to the club when my daughter joined in 2015 when she was learning to swim.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: I was asked numerous times by Amanda, she finally wore me down and then convinced me to go on my assistant coaching course (which was a great decision), she always knew what was going to be best for everyone, and doing that course was the best decision.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: yes I am a swimmer, it’s my passion and I love it. I will hopefully get back in the pool once all this Covid has passed!
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: I’m an insurance broker! I love sport, especially swimming. My main all time hero are my parents.
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
A: My main frustration is people don’t see how hard and challenging it can be on poolside, a lot happens down there that is not clear to others and this can be hard at times.
It is such a pleasure to see the swimmers achieve what they want, this can be in training or competition. Also knowing I’m making a difference in their swimming journey.

Meet the Committee Series 7

Here is the 7th installment in the Meet the Committee series

Nicola Bailey

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club?
A: Committee member, Assistant teacher & Poolside helper
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: I joined the club in 1990 at the age of 6 to learn to swim and swam with the club until my early 20’s. Kingfishers became my second family.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: Kingfishers was a big part of my life growing up, my family where all involved with the club for many years. Now my son is swimming for the club it seemed the right thing to do to join the committee and give something back to the club. I was also persuaded to join by Maureen Dickinson and Charlotte Adams.
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: Yes, swam competitively with the club in open water and open meets/galas
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero?
A: Medical Student Coordinator for the NHS,
A: Spending time with my family,

A: My parents, especially my dad (Dave Cracknell) who without him I wouldn’t have been able to travel around the country and compete in the long distance circuit. He was always my biggest fan. He also became a role model to Kingfishers and I hope to follow in his footsteps. Also a special thank you to

Maureen Dickinson

for her support and words of encouragement during my swimming years.

Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club?
A: I wish that more parents would volunteer to help to ensure the future running of the club.
It is lovely to see previous swimmers returning to the club with their own children. Kingfishers has always had the reputation of being a family friendly club.

Meet the Committee Series 6

Here is the 6th installment of our Meet the Committee series

Kath Minghella

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club
A: My Roles at the Club are Masters Lead and Swim Manager Administrator and Masters Swimmer!
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: I joined Kingfishers back in about 2013 when a dedicated Masters session started with one swim a week on a Wednesday at 9.00pm, back in the beloved Old pool! I much prefer swimming in coached sets rather than running the gauntlet of ‘early morning madness’ lane swimming! Plus I work much harder and spend less time chatting at the end of the pool.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee?
A: When I first started with Kingfishers after being cajoled into coming to a Masters session by an ‘early morning swimmer friend’ I wasn’t interested in competing at all, I thought I was too old LOL! Anyway after going to a few meets I realised I really enjoyed it and it didn’t matter how old you were you could still compete and have fun and get medals!! The chap that was Masters Lead left Kingfishers and I sort of stepped into the Masters Lead shoes and encouraging masters to enter meets etc, which eventually led to Amanda Lee convincing me I should be on the Committee (apparently I’m not the only one!). I said ok I will but ‘just as a voice for Masters’. Anyway here I am 3 years later still a Committee Member!
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: YES I am a swimmer. I love to swim and can’t understand why anyone would not want to swim!! 😊 I learnt to swim in the Old Pool before Kingfishers was started. In fact my Mum did a sponsored walk (with me in a pushchair) to raise funds to build the old Pool. I swam competitively in the indoor and outdoor pool until I was 16 then took a break from competitive swimming until I joined Kingfishers. I also did the Castle Foot swim when I was 14.
Q: Occupation / favourite pastime / All time hero
A: Recruitment Administration / Walking – Swimming – Biking (no Triathlons I can’t run 😊) / Hero : My Mum
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club
A: What annoys me is all the people who say ‘well, can’t the committee do that’ but don’t want to be on the committee!! We all have lives and jobs to do, as well as being committee members; and we get to eat cake and drink coffee at meetings! Well we did before Teams Meetings! What makes me happy is seeing everyone enjoying training sessions from Technique Squad with their Teachers all the way up to Masters with our Great Coaches.

Meet the Committee Series 5

Here is the 5th installment in our Meet the committee series

Shaun Vasey

Q: What is your role(s) at the Club
A: Trustee/Committee Member, Open Meet Secretary, Poolside Volunteer, Team Manager, SE Judge, Web Site Publisher
Q: When and why did you join Kingfishers?
A: In 2013, as the parent of Izzy Vasey we wanted her to be able to swim so that we could enjoy cocktails around the pool whilst on holiday. Little did we know then what would follow. Initially Izzy started to swim with Scarborough Borough Council delivered lessons, but learning was frustratingly slow. We were recommended Kingfishers SC by a friend and after a trial session she was up and swimming within weeks. Many thanks to the hard work & teaching by Carly Atkinson & Dave Cracknell.
Q: How did you get involved and eventually join the Committee
A: I joined the committee in November 2017 after many months of been harassed, begged & press ganged by Amanda Lee…. At the time the club was struggling to get a balanced committee of pool & open water members (20/80% split). The lack of representation from indoor swimming led to frustration from parents on the balcony as there was no clear visibility/direction on what was happening in & around poolside.
“PUT UP OR SHUT UP” inspirational words of Amanda Lee! Liking a challenge & unable to shut up, that left me with only one option. I joined the committee. This put me in the inner sanctum, the lionesses’ den or the witch’s coven. I was fighting for my life LOL.
On a serious note looking back at the last four years I can safely say it was a good decision, there’s always a challenge, there’s always highs/lows, opportunity for self-development but more importantly the rewards of been able to help young swimmers develop whether your own or others makes it all worthwhile.
If you like any of the above or simply like to be tortured, why not put your name up for election & join our passionate team of volunteers who are all frantically swimming/paddling in the same direction….
Q: Are you a swimmer?
A: Yes, up until the age of 10 when I realised my true potential & achieved by mile badge. From there it was professional football for me…… Maybe I should have stuck with swimming! Alas the budgie smugglers no longer fit so you masters can sigh a gasp of relief.
Q: Occupation / favorite pastime / All-time hero
A: Senior manager at Schneider Electric, responsible for Industrial Engineering, Maintenance, Facilities, IT/Cyber Security & Apprentice training & development programme.
Favorite pastime: Football & any form of competitive sport.
All time hero: Daley Thompson – Twice Olympic decathlon gold medal winner (1980 & 1984) a true all-round athlete.
Q: What annoys you and what makes you happy about Kingfishers Swimming Club
A: What annoys me? Poolside politics internal & external bickering (Kingfishers or Scarborough). As with all competitive sports as parent’s, coaches, managers we all want the best for our own child/swimmer. Often in the quest to get the competitive edge for our child/swimmer we can all be guilty of losing focus on what really matters the child/swimmer. Only by all working together can we give the children the opportunity to reach their true potential.
What makes me happy – After been grumpy…. Hard work, teamwork, success & working together for the common goal.
Go Go Kingo’s