Swimming club stalwart dies aged 90

Dougie Coles.

Dougie Coles. - Credit: Archant

A FORMER Royal Navy serviceman who played a key role in Weston Swimming Club and the town’s Hildesheim Twinning Association has died aged 90.

Douglas Coles, of Farndale Road, died on Saturday, and was the eldest son of Albert and Gertie Coles of Hurst Road, and brother to Edna, Roy and John.

Doug had celebrated with family and friends on June 7 to mark both his 90th birthday and his 67th wedding anniversary with wife Joan, who he met in Winscombe in 1946.

At the time, Doug was serving on a minesweeper in the English Channel. He had joined the Royal Navy at 18, and went on to be awarded the Atlantic Star and the Burma Star for service in the Atlantic and Far East. He later helped with the post-war repatriation of personnel to Australia and New Zealand, and in atomic tests on Christmas Island.

On returning home, Doug joined his father in a painting, decorating and chimney sweeping business.

He captained the swimming club for six years, and served as a coach and teacher for more than 30 years. In 1982 he was awarded the Locking Trophy for service to Weston’s youth.

He frequently won prizes in Weston’s gardening and flower shows, and was a carpentry enthusiast and keen bridge player.

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He is survived by Joan, daughter Jeanette, and sons Michael and Robert, plus six grandchildren and one great-grandson.