Kettering swimming stalwart dies aged 80

Roger Patrick receiving an award earlier this year. NNL-171212-133713005
Roger Patrick receiving an award earlier this year. NNL-171212-133713005

A stalwart of Kettering’s swimming scene has died at the age of 80.

Roger Patrick joined Kettering Swimming Club - of which his father was one of the early members - in 1948 and soon picked up water polo, which he played for more than 65 years.

Roger and his water polo squad. NNL-171212-133637005

Roger and his water polo squad. NNL-171212-133637005

The swimming and water polo club was a significant part of Roger’s life.

He met his wife Dianne and lifelong friend Don Mobbs, also a player, at the club.

In 2014 Roger was a key part of the swimming club’s centenary celebrations, which included a water polo match in the lake at Wicksteed Park and faithfully recreating an early photo of club swimmers, including his father, having fun there.

He was also helped compile a centenary book with words, pictures and memories to celebrate 100 years of swimming and water polo.

Roger (left) at the centenary book launch. NNL-171212-133423005

Roger (left) at the centenary book launch. NNL-171212-133423005

As well as being an accomplished player, playing at national level and for many years in the Midlands league, he also contributed significantly to the sport and was not shy in taking on responsibility to support the game.

Over the years he set up and was a driving force for the East Midlands Waterpolo League which ran for 35 years under his stewardship.

He was also secretary, chairman and treasurer for Kettering Water Polo, culminating in him being made lifetime president.

He also spent hundreds of hours on “the table” supported by his wife, raising money to keep the club going and refereeing matches (with an unwavering sense for fair play and an enjoyable game).

Wicksteed Lake: Kettering: Wicksteed Park�"s newly restored lake hosts Kettering Amateur Swimming Club for their anniversary celebration swim. 'Present members of the club recreate a 1920s photo of KASC members about to jump into Wicksteed Lake. 'l-r John Withpetersen, Tom Reed, Don Ward (president), Allan Withpetersen, Richard Harmer, Roger Patrick, Rob Mitchell'Thursday 17th July 2014 NNL-171212-133651005

Wicksteed Lake: Kettering: Wicksteed Park�"s newly restored lake hosts Kettering Amateur Swimming Club for their anniversary celebration swim. 'Present members of the club recreate a 1920s photo of KASC members about to jump into Wicksteed Lake. 'l-r John Withpetersen, Tom Reed, Don Ward (president), Allan Withpetersen, Richard Harmer, Roger Patrick, Rob Mitchell'Thursday 17th July 2014 NNL-171212-133651005

In recognition of all of his services to the sport he was invited to the Queen’s Jubilee Garden Party at Buckingham Palace a few years ago, was awarded the Long Time Contribution to Sport Award by Kettering Council in 2009 and a Certificate of Recognition from Northamptonshire County Swimming Association earlier in 2017.

A Kettering Amateur Swimming Club spokesman said: “Roger also had a great sense of community around the sport, but also had a passion for Devon and surfing.

“Somehow he managed to combine all these passions and was instrumental in arranging a friendly between Kettering and Barnstaple water polo clubs.

“This friendly has endured for 45 years, with Roger playing in every single match.

“Over the years a ‘community’ has grown around the match, as family and friends spend the week of the match as a holiday in Devon.

“This community is now in excess of 200 people and four generations.

“Roger still managed to get out surfing this year, even at 80 years young!”

Roger, who died on November 27, is survived by his wife Dianne, son Neil, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held on Friday (December 15) at 1.45pm at the Holy Trinity and St Paul Church in Northampton followed by a private committal at Milton Crematorium.

By request family flowers only.

Donations, if desired, can be made in cheques made payable to the R.N.L.I.

Cheques can be sent to the funeral home of Kevin Matthews, 1-5 Balmoral Road, Kingsthorpe, Northampton NN2 6LA.