It is with regret that we have to tell you that Ray Hedger, a long-time member of our swimming community has died.
Ray had always had a close connection to water, brought up, as he was, close to the Thames Tideway where his father excelled as an oarsman and he, as a teenager, worked in a cafe on the edge of the river. During his time in National Service Ray passed the time playing football (he had played for Twickenham FC in the Metropolitan League in his youth) and started playing water polo at the old Command Pool in Aldershot.
When he completed his National Service, Ray became a keen rower. Like his father he excelled on top of the water and was a senior oarsman who competed at Henley Royal Regatta between 1956 and 1958, a club committee member during that period and Club Captain twice. And he went on to spend thirty years as an Amateur Rowing Association licensed umpire.
Work took Ray and his family to Nigeria at the end of 1959, he picked up Water Polo again and became Secretary of Shell-BP Boat Club, Port Harcourt, Nigeria (sailing, water skiing and rowing) in the early 60s.
Ray’s introduction to swimming arrived in the same way as for many of us, via the children. And, like many of us, once it started, there was no turning back! Sons, John and Douglas joined Woking Swimming Club and, not being one to sit on the side-lines, Ray qualified as a swimming teacher and club coach and spent more than a decade on the poolside. He became an ASA Tutor as well as SCASA Swimming Official as Starter, Judge and Timekeeper and was on the Surrey County Water Polo & Swimming Association list.
In addition to this Ray had also been:
- Chairman of Woking SC from 1975-1981, an effort recognised by being made a Life Member
- an active member of Surrey County Water Polo & Swimming Association from early 1970’s to 2007
- Member of ASA Education Committee 1993 and 1994
- Surrey County President in 1987 and recycled in 2001
- Honorary Life Vice President of Surrey County ASA 2013
- An active member of SCASA Executive Committee 1982 to 2000
- District President in 1998
- a member of the ASA Audit & Probity Committee 1999 — 2004
- Elected Chairman of SCASA Executive ii Committee in 2000, overseeing changeover from an Executive Committee to a smaller Management Committee
- Elected member of SCASA Management Committee 2001 - 2005
- SCASA Delegate to ASA Council Meeting for many years
- Chairman of District meetings on Regionalisation
- Vice Chairman ASA South East Region Shadow and Management Boards 2004 – 2016
- Member of the ASA South East Regional Management Board 2005 – 2016
- Regional Representative on the ASA Management Board from 2005 to 2013
- South East Region President 2012/13
- Apparently almost 100% attendance record at all levels of Committee/Management Board meetings
- ASA Vice President 2013/14
- ASA President 2014/15
Ray has also been involved at very senior level in rowing in a number of high powered posts including:
- inaugural Finance Controller of National Rowing Championships for 14 years
- Treasurer of World Veteran Rowing Championships held at Holme Pierrepoint, Nottingham
- Member of Henley Women’s Regatta Management Committee for 15 years.
Clearly Ray had an absolute wealth of experience in so many areas of expertise. The fact that he had been involved in a range of sports as an athlete and also committed so much time as a volunteer and official placed him in the best position to be able to see the big picture and champion the rights of everyone to take part in sport.
Ray was a highly respected member of the South East Regional Management Board until his departure in 2016, valued for his wise counsel.
Our thoughts are with his family, in particular his wife Janet, at this sad time.