James Masterson

The funeral was held yesterday for a prize-winning swimmer and former prisoner of war who died suddenly after a day out at the races.James Masterson first became a Norfolk champion swimmer aged nine and went on to win hundreds of awards during his lifetime.

The funeral was held yesterday

for a prize-winning swimmer and former prisoner of war who died suddenly after a day out at the

races.

James Masterson first became a Norfolk champion swimmer aged


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nine and went on to win

hundreds of awards during his lifetime.

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He was a familiar sight swimming in the sea off Yarmouth throughout his life, always taking part in the yearly pier-to-pier race.

A member of the Yarmouth Swimming Club, he broke the

British masters 800m record in 2000, clocking a time of 16 minutes

and seven seconds in the over-80 category.

And the 85-year-old, of Alexandra Avenue, was never far from water, building up a successful fishmongers on Nelson Road Central after returning from the war.

Mr Masterson's wife Betty, with whom he celebrated his diamond wedding anniversary in January,

said that her husband would

always be remembered for his love of the sea.

"Swimming was his biggest passion and achievement," she said.

"He was a great sportsman and won so many championships in his lifetime.

"He was happiest when in the water and excelled at long distance races. James was also a keen footballer, but it was swimming that he loved the most."

Mr Masterson served in the RAF during the war and was captured

after his plane was downed off

the coast of Ireland, staying

in a prisoner of war camp there

for the last two years of the

war.

Daughter Elizabeth Lake said: "If there was any prisoner of war camp to be placed in, this was the one.

"Ireland was neutral and he was there with Germans and Italians.

"They were all allowed out during the day to work in Dublin, and while there he was even able to compete

in the Irish swimming

championships.

"A book was written about the camp a few years ago featuring dad,

which got him on to Newsnight, among other television shows, talking about it."

On his return he went into business with his father, building the fishmongers into one of the biggest in the town.

He married Betty in 1946 and the couple built up many friends in the town, with Mr Masterson joining

the freemasons and the Round

Table.

He died after a massive heart attack walking back from a day at Yarmouth Races on Saturday, July 25, with Betty at his side.

The funeral was held in St Nicholas Church yesterday.

Along with Betty, Mr Masterson leaves children Richard, Tony

and Elizabeth and six grand-

children.

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