Thetford Dolphins swimmers past and present gathered at the weekend to begin the club’s 40th birthday celebrations at the Waterworld pool.
Veteran and current members, together with their friends and families, gathered to participate in or watch a gala of fun 25m races. Mark Collins’ exuberance and natural talent for gala commentary and participant/spectator interview was evident and he also expressed the club’s appreciation to the family of founding member, Tony Hegarty for their presence.
The swimmers were sorted into groups, each combining current and veteran members, young and, not so young. Ages spanned across the decades from seven to 51 but all pulled together for their team. As well as the planned races, a series of challenges by veterans and current members on each other added to the jovial atmosphere.
Later in the day over 300 past and present swimmers, families and friends alike gathered in the evening at the town’s Carnegie Rooms to continue the celebrations. On display in the foyer were a range of old press cuttings spanning the decades. There were speeches by the current president (Tony Gale), chairman (John Gooch), Lady Mayor (Pauline Quadling — herself a former member) and some original members.
Those who remembered the club’s early days and Tony Hegarty’s dedication in its creation and running expressed their gratitude. His family were also thanked for their help with the club and their attendance at the celebrations. His wife was presented with a bouquet.
The Lady Mayor made a speech about her days in the club; how welcoming and full of friendship it was, and how warm the Secondary Modern School (presently the Thetford Academy south) pool was compared to others they visited in various galas.
Thanks were given to all involved in the past for their support with the club over the years, right up to the current input by swimmers, family, friends and those organising the celebrations.
Finally, presentations were made to the winning teams in the day’s gala and raffle tickets were drawn for the generously donated prizes of the evening.
The musical entertainment of the evening then began with live band Madison and a disco late into the night