A most respected member of the community, Don Roberts was my swimming master at Torquay Boys Grammar School and continues to coach and advise swimmers in Torbay including Maidencombe swimming star Neal Taylor from Brim Hill.
|Don Roberts (centre left) Torquay Boys Grammar School photo 1968|
'Don Roberts, swimmer and chemist (in that order), an out-and-out Torquinian from Ellacombe and possessor of a booming singing voice: "And did those feet in Ancient Times?" (was that Concorde? No, it was Don)'.
|Maidencomber Don Roberts honoured by the Queen|
A FORMER Torquay Grammar School boy has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to young people and bellringing.
Donald Roberts, 84, has been recognised for his ‘extraordinary commitment to swimming’ over four decades, according to his citation.
Mr Roberts started out as a newly qualified science teacher at the grammar school in 1953 and has remained an ever present at the school.
He took an active part in fundraising for the building of the Plainmoor Pool during the 1970s, which has remained an important part of the Torquay community.
He has carried on his involvement in the pool, and was instrumental in its recent refurbishment and survival when it was threatened with closure.
He carried this drive into Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, and has been leading swim and water polo teams throughout his time.
For the past 40 years, he has led at least one team, often two or three, to the national finals. In 2006, he was recognised as swimming coach of the year by Torbay Council.
During his 60 years, he has performed at over 1,000 bell towers, 380 in Devon. He has trained over 100 new ringers throughout the last 60 years, and in particular has shown great dedication to two churches, Babbacombe Church and St Marychurch.