UK Sport Chair Dame Katherine Grainger reflects on the contribution of Maurice Watkins to British sport
I was so saddened to hear about the passing of British Swimming Chair, Maurice Watkins over the weekend. My thoughts are with his family and friends during what must be an incredibly difficult time.
Maurice has been one of the most respected figures within British sport for many years and has had a hugely positive impact on British Swimming over the past decade. Under his stewardship, our swimmers and divers have achieved incredible success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games both at Rio and most recently in Tokyo, where our Olympic swim team were the most successful ever. Maurice should take huge credit and immense pride for the part he played in creating an environment so conducive to delivering success on the biggest sporting stage of all.
Maurice’s contribution to sport wasn’t limited to swimming, however. The sheer variety of sports that he was involved in throughout his life goes some way to showing the immense impact he had on the British sporting landscape.
He was a Director at Manchester United for almost thirty years and a board director at the Rugby Football League for a dozen. He has also been the Chair of Barnsley Football Club and European Rugby League as well as a Board Director at Lancashire County Cricket Club. A lawyer by trade, Maurice was an equally friendly, assured and welcoming presence in the stands as he was in the boardroom.
His experience and wisdom were almost unrivalled within British sport and he will be sorely missed as a colleague and friend.