AS a campaign is launched to honour a stalwart of Chard's swimming scene, one of his pupils has written a letter in support of the great coach.

John Farrant was a swimming coach in the town for more than 20 years.

He took five gifted locals to national competitions and trained Commonwealth gold medallist Matthew Clay, but John also gave up his time to help with school swimming lessons.

The new campaign calls for John to be honoured in the naming of the new pool, or a similar recognition.

RELATED: Campaign launched to honour one of Chard's greatest sporting servants with new pool

The discussion started when one of John's former pupils, Libby Down, contacted her councillor with the idea.

Now Libby has told the News why she was inspired to thank John post-humously.

"John played a big role in not just mine but all three of my sisters' childhoods.

"I joined the club when I was five, in 1999, and stayed as part of the team until I was 16.

"Even after I left the club my younger sister was in the team so I would still go to watch her train and compete, so John and his wife Pam really were a massive part of my life.

"John was an incredible coach, he accepted everyone for exactly who and what they were.

"I was naturally a bit lazier than some of the other swimmers and John managed to find ways I could turn that laziness into stubbornness to not give up.

"He was never known to anger or raise his voice and he wouldn't give you unnecessary compliments.

"In a time where school and most sports clubs were giving you a rosette for trying John managed to teach us that you don't need external praise.

"I learnt at a young age that sometimes being proud of your own personal achievement is enough. As a coach he never made us strive for first prize but instead got us to aim for a personal best.

"If one of his swimmers came first but with a slow time, they wouldn't get the praise that the swimmer who came in last but beat their personal best would get.

"Now, when I say praise I don't mean a big well done and celebrations - I mean a smile and a nod.

"That was a massive deal to any of us swimmers. If we got a smile and a nod from John we knew he was proud.

"I mean I still remember the day I got a smile, a nod and a 'well done' from John. It meant the absolute world to me.

"The lessons all of us swimmers learnt from John wasn't just how to swim faster or get better. They were true life lessons that I treasure.

"It was team work whilst competing against your teammates. It was the ability to celebrate others successes, strengths and weaknesses whilst not loosing site of your own. It was understanding that the only recognition you need is from yourself.

"Being a teenager is never an easy time for people, but John, Pam and the other teachers gave us all a safe place where we could make friends, learn skills and develop self confidence and self love.

"The world needs more John Farrants.

"People who so effortlessly give out lessons and ask for nothing in return. He didn't seek any big awards or recognition in his lifetime. I know that is never why he did the amazing work he did.

"However, having a permanent reminder of him for our town can help more everyday people do extraordinary things, and let people doing these types of jobs realise and understand that the impact they have on the people around them stretches far beyond the hour lesson they teach.

"They stretch throughout a person's life. Well I just think we can uncover a few more John Farrants out there."