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Alison Frankland recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

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Alison Frankland of the Beau Sejour Barracudas Swimming Club has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday honours list awarded with an MBE, becoming a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Frankland was honoured for voluntary services to swimming in Guernsey.

An emotional Mrs Frankland said she was overwhelmed and would never have achieved so much without support from family and friends. "I thought of my dad and if he were still alive, how proud he would be of me", she said.

A founder of the Beau Sejour Swim School, she was in the UK with a group of competing swimmers when the letter arrived. Husband John opened it, but did not say anything until he handed her the letter when they were driving home from the airport.

"I can't describe how I felt, shocked initially and then very emotional. That was three weeks ago and it has taken some getting used to. It was only yesterday when we got the official letter that I was really sure. I questioned whether I really deserved it. You can't help but wonder when there are so many people who do so many good things."

She was particularly grateful to her family. "I've spent a lot of time away from home and I couldn't have done it without them."

All Alison Frankland wanted was for her two boys to learn how to swim. "Because we do a lot of boating, it was important they learnt as early as possible", she said. When she had sons Peter and James, she gave up her full-time role as a civil servant and took a part-time receptionist job at the then newly opened Beau Sejour.

When there was talk of starting a swimming school, she was keen to get involved.  "We could see the potential of providing swimming lessons at Beau Sejour", she said. The school started with 100 pupils and now sees 1,700 a week from babies to OAPs. Mrs Frankland and her team have practically taught the island to swim.

But it was only when they decided to start competing that the Barracudas team was born. "Once we introduced the competitive element, we had to then provide a coaching programme", she said. That has taken Guernsey swimmers on to compete at an international level. She said the success was down to the coaches and swimmers being prepared to give up their time. "I've been lucky to work with such committed athletes. I have shared their joy and their heartache," she said.

Debbie Le Noury was there from the start and was her closest ally and without sponsorship over the years from Norman Piette and NRG International, they would not have been able to achieve what they had. Mrs Frankland retired last year but still coaches for 25 hours a week. "There were times when I was away from home when I wondered why I was doing it, but when we got good results, it was all worthwhile. I just can't stress enough how grateful I am for this award."

Posted on 26 Jun 2008 at 18:52 by Hampshire County ASA.