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Obituary: Marilyn Evans (Bo)

Marilyn – known to many as Bo, was born in Trowbridge, about two miles from where we are now, on the 11th June 1939 – one of a twin and the youngest of six girls.

She lived in the White Lion in Corsham in her teens and was a 400m runner for the county and was also a fair table – tennis player. Bo had worked at Jollies in Bath and then Bulsoms in Chippenham where she met Dick and they married in 1960. They then lived and worked in Luton for four years – returning to Corsham in 1964, where she made home for the next 30 years.

In all, she gave birth to four boys. Following a holiday in the Isle of Wight, Bo and her family joined Chippenham A.S.C. in 1969 soon becoming involved with teaching swimming and within a few years became coach to the club. She also became a qualified Life-Saving Teacher, enjoying success in National competitions in Life-Saving and Swimming and was coach to the club for 16 years.

Bo also became involved with disability swimming (her first child being disabled). She ran swimming training courses on Saturday mornings for 25 years and as coach to Easter Courses for 26 years. Bo taught several schools swimming on weekdays – was involved with Wilts A.S.A. for many years with County swimming and various committees. She became County President in 1990 and in 2004 proudly accepted the Dolly Rice Award. Bo enjoyed several days of filming with the BBC for their Swim and Superstars programmes and for the first Open Water Award at Thorpe Park.

An opportunity arose to teach swimming at the first Marlborough College Summer School – a position she held for the next 33 years! After the first year or two of Summer School, Marilyn was invited to be swim coach at Marlborough college,initially travelling daily from Corsham, progressing to staying overnight and then appointed as Resident House Tutor in Morris House which was the first girls house in the College.

Marilyn as she was known at the college, organised Water-Polo here and enjoyed great success with her swimming and water polo teams. One of rewards was to enjoy a garden party at Buckingham Palace and being made a member of Common Room.

Whilst at Corsham she had played Netball, eventually becoming qualified at coaching and umpiring, skills which she carried to Marlborough College. Later in her career, she tutored and assessed many swimming teaching and coaching courses and we roughly worked out that she had visited over 230 different venues whilst involved in the sport – including Gibraltar and Jersey.

For about ten years she was a member of the A.S.A. Judicial Tribunal. Somehow slotting in between these activities she enjoyed many years on holiday in Jersey, which started when Chippenham A.S.C. exchanged with Jersey A.S.C. and later Guernsey A.S.C. Marilyn or Bo was able to enjoy several years here with the 3 grandchildren. We have lost track of how many times on holiday here, but think it could be 40! She loved Jersey.

Due to health problems, she decided to retire completely in 2016 and received a Special Award for her 48 years in Swimming.

“As a coach Marilyn’s cheerfulness was consistent, and she achieved results through determination and firmness rather than through shouting. The boys and girls responded so well to her calm interest, enthusiasm and expertise: they loved her. Marilyn managed to make the old outdoor pool work well and the first school waterpolo match was held in this: I have a memory of strawberries and wine accompanying this event – very ‘eighties Marlborough’!”
Niall Hamilton (CR 1985-)

“Many OM swimmers will remember Marilyn for her kind but no-nonsense approach to swimming as well as her role and responsibilities at the College . Her wealth and experience from the world of swimming helped to lay the foundations of a swimming legacy at MC. Even though Marilyn formally retired from the College in 2001, she kept up with all the news from the College until very recently.”
Peter O’Sullivan (CR 2001-)