THE founder of a swimming club in Wantage which teaches people how to save lives has passed away.

Keith Cottell MBE, who founded the Wantage Lifesavers more than 50 years ago, passed away on Sunday, June 5.

The lifesaving tutor and swimming coach, of Kingsgrove Orchard in Grove, set up the club to teach recruits how to rescue people from the water in an emergency and how to resuscitate them.

READ MORE: Drama as water lifesavers need rescuing themselves

He received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 for his services to swimming and lifesaving.

Herald Series: Lifesaving tutors Keith Cottell, right, and Ellesha Bedfordwith with members of the lifesaving training class Picture:Kevin HarveyLifesaving tutors Keith Cottell, right, and Ellesha Bedfordwith with members of the lifesaving training class Picture:Kevin Harvey

In 2016, he also won the 125th Anniversary Award from the Royal Live Saving Society for his voluntary contribution and achievements particularly in drowning prevention.

On Facebook, a member of the club wrote: “It's with great sadness that we have to share the extremely sad news that Keith Cottell passed away.

“Keith founded WLS club over 50 years ago and led it to become one of the leading clubs in the UK, being honoured by the Queen with an MBE for his services to lifesaving and swimming.

“To many of us Keith was team manager, lifesaving expert, mentor, coach and very close friend for many years. He was a quietly spoken driving force behind the club. We will miss him greatly.

READ MORE: Swimming school celebrates teaching more than 1,000 children to swim

“Of course, at this time, we would offer Keith's family our sincere condolences during these sad times.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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