AN inspirational swimming coach who served the Redditch community for more than 40 years has died.

David Finney, co-founder of The Bridge Swimming Club, originally set up for members of the Boys and Girls Brigade, recently passed away aged 86.

During his forty plus years volunteering, David taught generations of young people to swim.

His enthusiasm was evident as when a child successfully achieved their goal he would shout encouragement, smile and jump up and down on the side of the pool before shaking their hand.

He took a tremendous amount of pleasure in seeing nervous learners taking their feet off the floor for the first time and start to swim, progressing through the groups and having fun in the water.

David was nominated by members of the club and won the Inspire Redditch Unsung hero Award in 2013, Pride of Redditch in 2015 and was the BBC Midlands Sports Unsung Hero Award winner in 2016.

David was also a swimming coach for Redditch Swimming Club (RSC), becoming involved in 1972 when he took his sons to learn to swim.

He was the lead teacher of the learn-to-swim classes at Kingsley and previously Hewell Road baths.

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Sue Robinson, assistant swimming teacher with The Bridge Swimming Club and former RSC member, said: “David’s great enthusiasm and love of swimming enticed many back into teaching. On Wednesday evenings he also ran adult swimming sessions for many years.

“As recognition from the club David was given life membership (awarded after 25 years’ service as a teacher) and on his retirement, the naming of a RSC trophy in his honour, the David Finney Cup.”

David’s passion for coaching sports grew out of his involvement with The Stonehouse Gang, a Birmingham youth club originally set up by Birmingham Gazette reporter Harry Webb after the War.

They tried to direct youngsters in juvenile courts into sport and away from a life of crime.

David used to teach badminton, football, table tennis and enjoyed playing cricket.

Sue added: “Over the years, David taught hundreds maybe thousands of people a lifesaving skill which will benefit them for a lifetime.

“He will be greatly missed by a huge number of people who had the pleasure of knowing him through swimming, badminton, table tennis, cricket or football.”

David’s funeral is on November 18 at 12.30pm at the Redditch Crematorium.

There will be family flowers only. Donations received will be split between The Stone House Gang and Willow Wood Hospice.