Golden event in honour of Norwich’s Mr Swimming

The search is on to track down members of the Norwich Swan Swimming Club to take part in an event in honour of Norwich's Mr Swimming, Billy Basher. Derek James reports.

He died way back in 1958, but his name will never be forgotten. Although he wrote in the Evening News under the pen name 'Porpoise' everyone knew and loved him as the one and only Billy Basher.

He was Norfolk's 'Mr Swimming'.

And today the hunt is on to track down the people in the picture – the first winners of the Basher trophy at the new St Augustine's swimming pool in 1961.

It was so sad that Billy who campaigned long and hard for Norwich to have a proper public indoor swimming pool should die, just weeks before the planning application for the new pool was given the go-ahead.

But members of the Norwich Swan Swimming Club, one of the oldest in the country, being formed in 1880, made sure Billy's name would live on.

With help from Norwich City Council along with donations from other groups and many friends, it bought the beautiful WJ Basher Perpetual Memorial Trophy,

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And this Evening News photograph of the first winners was taken half a century ago.

Here we have the Swan team which won the trophy and that's Bridget Johnson, now Bridget Belsen and the club's historian holding the cup.

On October 22 this year the club will be hosting a special golden anniversary swimming gala at the UEA Sportspark and once again this trophy will be competed for.

The picture has been sent to me by Bridget's daughter, Karen Woodhouse, who is vice-chairman of the club, in a bid to track down all the people in the picture so they can be part of the grand gala.

The problem is that several of the girls are married and have different names so it is a job to track them all down.

In the picture we have:

Back row, left to right: Tony Meadows, Richard (Ted) Chapman, David Walker, Stuart MacDonald-Cobb, David Earl, Robert MacDonald-Cobb, Doug Poynton and John Swift.

Front row, left to right: Elizabeth Cotton, Diane Cawdrey, Jane Hadden, Bridget Johnson (Belsen), Maureen Hansell, Margaret Walpole (McNeight). Seated is David Mclaughlin.

If you are about then please call Karen Woodhouse on 01603 898814 or Bridget Belsen on 01603 413003. You can also email karen at