TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘swimming legend,’ who taught hundreds of youngsters and adults to swim at Pershore Leisure Centre.

Worcester News:

Gwen Small from Drakes Broughton, died at St Richards Hospice on Monday 10 August after suffering three strokes.

The 72 year old was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, twin sister and teacher.

Her daughter Mary said: "She learnt to swim when she was 40 then went on to take her swimming teaching qualification. She never gave up on any child and never realised how inspirational she was

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"She taught her grandchildren Emma and Thomas to swim and they love the water now. She was amazing and very supportive, There are no words to say how much we will miss her."

A spokesman for the leisure centre said: “Gwen taught a range of swimming lessons and became synonymous throughout Pershore for her kind approach and expertise over 20 years of teaching. She was also known to go that extra step for anybody at anytime.

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“Gwen was a true legend and will be sadly missed by all the staff at Pershore. It is a huge loss to the swimming world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

Hundreds of former students have left tributes to Gwen on Facebook.

Simon Tustin said: “It was a true honour to have known Gwen, it will never be the same without you. All the swimming teachers at Pershore learnt so much from her in-depth knowledge and the children and staff will miss her greatly, especially me.”

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Anny James said: “Such sad, sad news. Gwen was a wonderful, kind and genuine person, she helped both my children to swim from babies through to teenager. She always had time to talk to you whenever you bumped into her at the leisure centre. My condolences to her family.”

Gwen’s son, Russell Small has set up a JustGiving page in her honor, with all proceeds going to St Richard’s Hospice

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Mr Small said: “Mum spent her last few days at St Richards hospice, which considering the circumstances of the patients in there is such a lovely place where the staff go out of their way to make visitors and family welcome. As they are a charity and get no funding from the government I have set up a just giving page to raise money for them in honour of Mum.”

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