An Olympian and diving coach who managed Britain’s Olympic diving team and was to be a judge at this year’s Games is spending her lockdown befriending Southampton’s isolated and lonely.
Lindsey Fraser, who represented Britain twice at the Olympics and has also competed at the Commonwealth Games, had different plans pre-pandemic, but is now volunteering for our charity.
The 62-year-old Diving Development Officer, who has been an Olympic coach and team manager too, explained: “If everything had been as normal, I would have been preparing my divers for the Junior Europeans and the Olympic Games, while also working at The Quays in Southampton, running the diving programme there and coaching. Earlier this year I was selected as a diving judge for Tokyo 2020 too, so there was lots going on.
The Olympics are the pinnacle in our sport, whether you’re a coach, a team manager, a judge or a diver. It is exceptionally hard, physically and psychologically, for everyone involved that the Games are not happening this summer. We really have no idea whether it will go ahead next year either, so it’s a very uncertain time for us all, especially as we’re unable at the moment to be together to even train in a pool or give each other face-to-face emotional support.”
While most athletes or sporting officials dream of attending just one Olympics, Lindsey would have been to seven in her career if this summer’s event had taken place as planned.
As a diver, she represented Britain on the 10m Platform at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. She was also the GB team manager and coach at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, before becoming a Team GB coach in Beijing and London. Tokyo would have been her first experience as an Olympic level judge, after achieving every other Olympic diving role possible during her career to date.
Her divers include James Mountford, Natalie Hill and Rosie Medlock, all Junior European Champions, Stacie Powell, GB Olympic diver 2008 and 2012, Blake Aldridge, Junior World Champion and synchro partner of Tom Daley at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Max Brick, 2010 Commonwealth gold medallist with Tom Daley, Peter Waterfield, Olympic silver medallist 2004, Chris Mears, Olympic gold medallist 2016, and Gary Hunt, World Champion high diver and Red Bull Champion.
Now she is at home and furloughed, so she has turned her talents to helping Communicare, which is committed to helping eradicate loneliness in the city, with its invaluable telephone befriending work.
“I care deeply about the local community where I live and within the city and, while furloughed, I am able to get more involved more easily. I have done a few different things to help the charity including delivering some books to a lady who is self-isolating and needed some more reading material to help keep her occupied during the lockdown and I am now a telephone befriender. Volunteering is definitely great for both the service user and me! It makes me feel useful and gives me a daily purpose!”
While at home in Hedge End, Lindsey, who was also awarded the Helen Rollason medal as the top female UK Coach of the Year in 2004, is spending her time reading, cooking and looking after her six cats too.