I will begin with the invitation from Chris to speak in support of his nomination to become the President of the English Schools Swimming Association, ESSA 2006. I asked him “how do you wish me to be, serious or humorous?” his answer was, “just do it”, it was a great honour and privilege. This was in my opinion the culmination of Chris Fox the administrator and leader. ESSA benefited from his experience and his personality, a President with great knowledge and understanding, unafraid of voicing his opinion.
Chris was the host when HRH Prince William (the newly appointed Patron of the ESSA) visited the Gala Baths at Walsall for the ESSA Water Polo Championships, a great day in the history of the ESSA and Water Polo. Chris was a superb host, not only giving His Royal Highness an interesting commentary on ESSA but also the potted history of his own Swimming Club Walsall, one of the founder clubs of Staffordshire ASA and a very famous Water Polo Club.
Chris Fox husband of Mavis and father of Georj and Simon, began his swimming career as so many before him when taking his children to the baths to join Walsall Swimming Club and was asked to help at a Club Gala. Chris and Mavis became hooked and they became swimming officials both referees, Chris was able to officiate at all levels of competition through to International. He was Manager of the Division V11 Swimming Team and also Manager of the England Central Team in the UK School Games.
Chris was a retired School Teacher specialising with children of special needs, he was gifted to be able to communicate and encourage boys and girls with learning difficulties to become part of society and enjoy sport.
Staffordshire ASA was the launch pad of Chris Fox the administrator. He was first elected to the Executive in 1988. He became Swimming Secretary in 1997 and with Mavis reorganized competitive swimming Championships/Age Groups within Staffordshire. Chris also created a better selection process for swimmers to represent Staffordshire County ASA and he became Manager of a very successful County Swimming Team. Chris was elected President of the County in its Centenary Year, this was a very great honour which he took very seriously and was able to look back on a very successful Centenary Year.
There has to be a partnership and this was best practiced by Chris and Mavis. They did everything together. Mavis followed Chris as President of Staffordshire and Chris followed Mavis as President of ESSA, and now Mavis is the Swimming Secretary of Staffordshire. Chris had too short a life in swimming but what he contributed whilst he was with us was exceptional and beneficial, we can look back and look forward at the hard work of Chris Fox.
Chris had another love, the Wolves and football, he was a qualified FA Coach and Referee. He was employed as a Member of the Gate Keeping Staff at Molineux for 38 years, for Chris this was enjoyable and gave him the opportunity of being paid and watch the Wolves play. Because of the long association with the Club Chris’s ashes are buried at the Molineux Hotel end of the ground.
Peter W. Holmes MBE