A swimming coach who worked tirelessly to train and develop hundreds of young swimmers has lost his battle with cancer.
Jim Whittle, 77, was the head coach at Accrington Swimming Club for 25 years and under his stewardship the club produced many national level swimmers.
The dad of three and grandfather to seven passed away on Friday, April 3 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the oesophagus in December last year.
Daughter Cathy Ross, 36, of Huncoat, paid tribute to Jim, who she described as a ‘real people person’ who had a ‘passion’ for coaching.
She said: “Coaching at Accrington Swimming Club was his passion.
“He got involved with swimming through me and my two sisters and once we had progressed he stayed on to become head coach.
“He coached and developed hundreds of kids down the years and we have been inundated with messages of support from those who were trained at the club and also other coaches.
“We received a nice message from Rob Greenwood who is the National Head Coach for GB Para-Swimming.”
Jim, who formerly worked as a sites and buildings manager at Accrington and Rossendale College, was a keen sportsman his whole life and played football for many local league teams and trained with Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Mrs Ross added: “Dad used to go and support his grandson Ben last year who played for five different cricket clubs.
“He used to go to all of the games and cheer him on.
“He loved people and sport and was a real social person.
“He made friends very easily with different generations and cultures.”
Jim passed away surrounded by family at his home in Pinewood Drive.
Mrs Ross said: “When nothing more could be done for the cancer, he wanted to come home and we brought him back and had a 24/7 vigil looking after him.”
Jim leaves three daughters – Josephine, Elaine and Catherine – and grandchildren Siobhan, Rachel, Natalie, James, Bethany, Julia and Ben.
A funeral mass will be held at St Anne’s Church, Cobham Road on Tuesday, April 14.