Former long-serving swimming club treasurer dies aged 92

Cynthia Blackwell being awarded the Dennis Thompson trophy.

Cynthia Blackwell, who served as the hon treasurer of Great Yarmouth Swimming Club for over three decades, has died aged 92. Here she is pictured being awarded the Dennis Thompson trophy. - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

A former treasurer from Great Yarmouth, who volunteered for over 30 years at a swimming club, has died aged 92.

Cynthia Blackwell served as the hon treasurer of Great Yarmouth Swimming Club for over three decades, championing the importance of people learning to swim. 

Born in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, she recalled one of her earliest memories being the cancellation of her 11th birthday party as the Second World War broke out.  

She left school to take up a position as a junior clerk at the Midland Bank, replacing men who had been sent to the front. This began an almost 20-year career there, culminating in being part of the relief staff for the east of England. During this time she would work at a different branch each week. 

During one of those secondments, she met Great Yarmouth businessman, Roy Blackwell. At that time, he was establishing the printing business that still bears his name to this day. They married at St Paul's Church in Newtown in January 1964. 

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Living by the coast, she believed it was important that her children learned to swim and enrolled them in Great Yarmouth Swimming Club.  

The club was short of voluntary staff and, given her experience at the bank, she agreed to take on the post of hon treasurer–a role she continued long after her children left. For 30 years she became a permanent fixture at the Phoenix pool pay desk on Fridays, the high school pool on Tuesdays, and at galas on Sunday mornings.  

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She retired from the role in 2009. 

Twice she was awarded the Dennis Thompson trophy at the Great Yarmouth Sports Awards, in 1993 and 2002, for long service. She was also awarded lifetime membership at the club in 1996. 

During the early 1980s, she became part of the fundraising efforts to restore the Fishermen's Hospital at the north end of the market place in the town. Every Wednesday, during the summer, she would sell local memorabilia and allow visitors to write their names on a brick from a stall on the grounds. 

A highlight of the stall was the books of old Great Yarmouth photos - a mix of donations from townsfolk and from the personal collection of Roy, a keen amateur photographer. There was always a long waiting list for the books and postcard-sized reprints, which Roy, who died in 2015, developed in his darkroom at home. 

Cynthia leaves two children, Steven and Susan, and two grandchildren, Curtis and Daisy. 

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