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Sudbury Storms Swimming Club in race against time to secure future amid shortage of instructors



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The chairman of Sudbury Storms Swimming Club says he is doing all he can to keep the 60-year-old club afloat.

The club, which operates out of Kingfisher Leisure Centre, has been hit with the loss of its head coach, while its membership has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chairman Gary Martin said the club may have to close by Christmas if it cannot find a permanent level two coach to replace its head coach, who left in June after six years in the voluntary role.

SUDBURY: Swimming - Sudbury gala.Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Station Rd, Sudbury. Sudbury Storm swimmers. Picture by Mark Westley. (51692826)
SUDBURY: Swimming - Sudbury gala.Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Station Rd, Sudbury. Sudbury Storm swimmers. Picture by Mark Westley. (51692826)

Since then, the club has relied on borrowing coaches from other clubs, who have volunteered their services as a stop-gap measure.

But the club desperately needs to find someone to take over on a permanent basis.

Mr Martin said: “You cannot operate a swimming club without a level two coach and there is a national shortage of them, as well as level one coaches.

“If we cannot find a new coach by Christmas, I do not see how we can carry on. It’s very sad. We have had some fantastic swimmers over the years. People like Stuart McLellan, who is a great role model for the club.

“But we lost half of our members because of the pandemic and people don’t want to come back swimming again.

“I have been chairman for two years and I didn’t expect it to pan out like this. I am doing all I possibly can. We have got just two months to try to sort something out.

“We have just got to hope and pray we can resolve the situation.”

Mr Martin said he had kept the club members fully informed of the situation.

The pandemic had hit the club hard, with galas and events cancelled. Costs were also rising, with club members having to pay more to swim at the leisure centre, he said.

“Part of the problem is that the coaching role is a voluntary one without pay, other than travel expenses. It involves a big commitment,” he added. “At some of the bigger clubs, coaches are paid, but we are not in a position to do that here.”

Anyone who can help the club can contact Mr Martin by calling 07583 814085.

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