Guest blogger Tony Dean of Warwickshire Branch has shared with us news of the retirement of Warwickshire’s past President, Frank Grant and a history of his tireless work for RLSS UK.

Last year saw the retirement from Warwickshire Branch Management Committee of, the then president, Frank Grant. In February this year, the current committee took Frank out for Sunday lunch to celebrate his 63 years in lifesaving. When I started to write this article about Frank’s time in lifesaving, I decided to run through his career chronologically.

Having asked for information from Frank’s friends and fellow lifesavers, I had to re-think the plan. To list all Frank’s achievements and posts with the Society would require the whole issue of Lifesavers! I have picked out a few key milestones in Frank’s career, I hope this will give you an appreciation of his personal commitment to lifesaving and inspire you all to continue to support the Society in the future.

Frank started lifesaving in 1950; by 1954 he had become an examiner. Frank was also a serving Police Officer working at the Regional Police Training Centre where all police cadets were trained in lifesaving. During the 1960s, Frank and his team were training and examining up to 1,700 awards per year.

In 1968 Warwickshire Branch was formed from the previous Birmingham & District Branch. Frank was on the new executive committee as Vice Chairman and Hon Awards Secretary and was later joined by his wife Barbara as Hon Treasurer. The lasting healthy state of the Branch is testament to the effective launch, ongoing processes and ethos that was created by the early Committees. In the late 60s, Frank was pivotal in setting up a training programme for new examiners in the area. In 1970 the FIRST National Lifesaving Championships were hosted by Warwickshire Branch at Coventry Baths and, yes, Frank was, as usual, deeply involved in organising the event.

During the 70s Frank continued his work with the Warwickshire Branch Committee and at the Police Training Centre. In 1972, branch records show that 3,282 awards were achieved at the centre. That’s a mind-boggling 13 per working day!!

In the New Year Honours list of 1978, Her Majesty the Queen awarded Frank Grant the British Empire Medal for his services to lifesaving.

RLSS UK Headquarters moved to Studley in 1980 and the, now retired, Frank joined the head office team as Stores Manager. In 1986 Frank was granted Life Membership of the Society, followed in 1991 by Honorary Life Membership. In the same year, Frank became Branch Vice President. In 1992 he was elected Vice Chairman, moving in 1994 to Chairman. Frank continued to be active on the committee in various roles including Chairman and President until his retirement in 2013, after 63 years of serving the Society.

Outside of RLSS UK, Frank and Barbara found time to pursue another love, caravanning. Even here Frank got involved, being elected for a term as National Chairman of the Camping and Caravanning Club.

It is impossible to overstate Frank Grant’s contribution to the work of the Royal Life Saving Society UK. Frank always knew where the real work of lifesaving was done, in its branches and clubs. He spared no effort to support that grassroots activity in Warwickshire.

Happy retirement Frank. It is great to hear stories from our branches, clubs and members, so if you have a story you would like to share with us then email your article and any photos you have to [email protected]