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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thank You Very Much, Peter Frayne

Peter Frayne (shown on left), a retired police officer whose beat was along the Dover waterfront who served as the Honorable Assistant Secretary of the Channel Swimming Association, passed away earlier this year at the age of 92.

Marathon swimmer Dr. Harry Huffaker (shown on right with Frayne) remembers his good friend who also served in his wedding. "Peter was instrumental in introducing me to the English Channel. When he was is his 90s, he still pedaled his bike down to the seafront where he crawled across the cobblestones to enter the water for his almost daily swim year around.

He said it has become advantageous to plan his daily swim to coincide with high tide so he didn't have so far to crawl.

He was a man with an impressive war record; he was definitely tough

Huffaker recalls Frayne's straightforward and uncomplicated life. "He was uncomplaining and always upbeat; never a burden to anyone and never spoke ill of anyone. After high school he enlisted in the British Army to serve in World War II. Most of his military duty was spent in North Africa. After that he joined the police force and spent his working life pounding the pavement in Dover.

After retirement he took up residence in nearby Herne Bay and enjoyed three principal activities - going to the dance hall, daily walks down to the seafront every day year round for a quick dip in the water, and traveling to Spain during the winter months

He became served many years as Assistant Secretary of the Channel Swimming Association and was keenly interested in following and assisting Channel aspirants with whatever needs they may have. "His main role seemed to be in the areas of counseling and serving as the official observer on numerous crossings, one of which was with Florence Chadwick. As her observer, he had to jump in the English Channel to guide her after the water pump on her escort boat failed within three miles of shore. Prior to that call of duty, Peter was below decks on her escort boat pumping water out of the bilge.

Six years ago I flew to England to visit him after learning he had suffered a stroke. I found him to be his usual non-complaining, chipper self. Despite macular degeneration, he still managed to make his way down to the sea front on his bicycle for a quick swim.

A true stalwart of the community he lived by the sea, he enjoyed swimming in the sea, and he helped others in the sea.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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