Charlie was a great character, much larger than life, who burst into our long distance swimming scene in 1972, with his great humour & attention to detail. I first remember meetng him, I think, at Pickmere, along with other Services personnel who became part of the open water swimming scene.
Rather than his swimming (which was prolific), I remember his organisational skills, also spotted & harnessed by John Slater, Secretary of the BLDSA. As Charlie was based in Norfolk with the RAF (in which he spent 24 years), he was a ready-made volunteer (nominee) to organise the St Germans to Kings Lynn Championship. As a swimmer, there was always lots to make us laugh as we fought the tide to get into the Quay at Kings Lynn, preferring that to ending up swept to the Hook of Holland. The course was changed from the River Ouse to the flood relief channel after a short time but the fun remained at what became the end of season bash!
Charlie met & married Sally Minty from Jersey & moved there, where he became part of, what is know as ‘possibly the best little swimming club in the world’. Never keen not to be doing things, Charlie was soon involved with his wife, in the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club & the amazing development of swims around Jersey, including the Round Jersey swim. He qualified as an escort pilot & ensured many achieved their dreams of that & swimming to France from the Island. His enthusiasm supported many resident swimmers to achieve Channel crossings, including his wife, Sally Minty Gravett. He was a Club Vice President for many years.
He was appointed an Honour Escort Pilot by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2016.
He had the distinction of being a member of a 6 -man relay team who swam Southern Turkey to Kyrenia in Cyprus – a distance of 115.86km in 1962.which was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. Always generous with his time Charlie was deeply involved in the Holidays for Heroes Jersey &, I believe, also supported Spurs!
Despite health challenges, Charlie dedicated 50 years to sport of long distance swimming & so many folk have benefitted from his skills & support.
The Association sends its support & condolences to Sally & all their friends & family, at the very sad time.
Margaret J Smith