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Ted Quarmby - a life dedicated to swimming
From the time he joined Leicester Swimming Club (LSC) in 1930, Ted spent the next 63 years of his life getting involved in all aspects of swimming, from competing for his club as a lad to handing over the reins as Chair of Market Harborough Swimming Club to John Marlow in 1993.
Founded at the George Hotel in 1881, five years before the formation of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), Leicester Swimming Club is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the country. When Ted learned how to swim, it was based at the old Vestry Street 30-yard pool.
Together with his siblings, he represented his club at various local and regional galas, his older sister Margaret becoming the Midland District 100m backstroke champion for United Ladies (Leicester men's and women's clubs were separate entities until 1969). Ted also became a member of the water-polo team, which was then regarded as the premier aquatic sport in Leicestershire.
At the outbreak of WWII, Ted joined the Leicestershire Yeomanry but soon the regiment was turned into artillery when the British Command realised the futility of sending a horse brigade to charge at panzers! Spending most of the war in Africa, including fighting at El Alamein, he took part in the liberation of Italy, landing at Taranto before crossing the country up to Ferrara in the North, where he was eventually demobilised in 1946.
Back in Leicester, the then Secretary of LSC, George Hall, set to relaunch the club with the young men lucky enough to have returned from active duty, and Ted became Assistant Secretary. Barely a year later, he was elected representative to the Leicestershire Amateur Swimming Association (LASA) in 1947 and became Secretary of LSC in 1950, a position he held until 1963. At that time, he still swam for the water-polo team but more and more officiated at galas so became a referee. Back then, that qualification was granted by a tribunal on both merit and experience, after one had first qualified as judge, starter and timekeeper. He went on officiating as an international referee at both national and international galas, including the Special Olympics in 1989.
In 1965, he became President of Leicestershire ASA and was elected to the Midland District the same year, at a time when the latter was still the regional body for both East and West Midland swimming clubs. It used to be the largest corporate member of the ASA until the creation of separate entities. He became President of the Midland District in 1977. Amongst the achievements realised during his tenure at both LSC and the Midland District, Ted is most proud of his work with disabled swimmers. At a time when nothing existed, he started organising one to one swimming lessons along with the Superintendant of the City of Leicester Baths, Jim Harris, and the Secretary of the Spastic Society, Mrs Sharp, and was instrumental in developing swimming activities for the disabled. The weekly sessions for the Spastic Society continued until the closure of the Vestry Street baths. He was also one of the first to push for the integration of men's and women's clubs together and he was on the subcommittee controlling the Age Group championships. He also served on MDASA Swimming and the Officials subcommittees.
In 1970, his professional career brought him to Market Harborough. Originally, he had planned to retire from swimming activities, but he was asked to help at galas and soon joined the Committee of MHSC where he was elected Chair in 1980. Amongst the many things he did for the club, the yearly presentation held in November when we celebrate our swimmers achievements is one of them. After qualifying as an examiner for officials in 1979, he was also keen to train the next generation of officials. Our own David Lander being one of Ted's former students. Stepping down from active duty in 1993, Ted is keeping busy working every morning at AM Labels in Kettering.
Few have done so much for swimming over such a long time.
In this regard, Ted, we salute you!
1993 gala presentation, the year Ted (wearing a blazer) stepped down