Hello!  My name is Will.

As your new Chair, I thought I would write a few words, firstly to thank you for electing me as your Chair at the AGM in April 2014, and to say how privileged I feel, as well as a little bit nervous.  I certainly have a lot to live up to following the tremendous job as Chair that Patrick Hastings did for many years!

Secondly, I wanted to introduce myself to those of you that do not know me.  So, what is there to say about me, and how I became involved in Halliwick?

Well, I first became involved in Halliwick in around 1982 when my foster parents brought my brother and me to Halliwick Penguins Swimming Club in Enfield and we joined as swimmers.  I have not been able to escape since!  If I remember rightly, my first “job” in the club was as a Swimmers’ Representative and then a few years later, as Minutes Secretary (why did I ever learn typing and shorthand?!).  A few years later, our then club Chair, Paul O’Byrne, suggested that I might like to become Chair of the club.  To be honest, at the time, I was rather hesitant as I thought everyone else on the committee had far more experience than I did, but luckily for me, they were all very kind to me (and still are!).

I have been Chair of the club ever since and I love every minute of it (mostly!).  We have a great executive committee who all do a fantastic amount of work to keep the club going behind the scenes and at the weekly swimming sessions, and it is great to see swimmers come along each week and progress both in the water and as individuals.  That, for me, is what Halliwick is all about.  It teaches a swimmer how to be safe in the water and develops that, of course it does, but it does so much more as well—developing them as individuals, growing in confidence and identity.

We also have a great team in Halliwick AST, on the Executive and other committees, doing tremendous amounts of work and I am sure together we can make sure that Halliwick continues to grow and develop; an exciting prospect for us all!

As well as being Chair of my club, I have been involved in Halliwick in various other ways, regionally, nationally and internationally.  I am your new Chair of Halliwick AST (the UK national association for Halliwick) and I am Secretary of Halliwick ASTRA One (the region which covers Halliwick clubs in London north of the river Thames).  From 2000 to 2011, I was also Secretary of the International Halliwick Association (IHA) which took me to many countries, helping to organise swimming competitions and conferences on Halliwick.

It is amazing to think that Halliwick, started over 60 years ago by James and Phyl McMillan in Enfield, now has users and practitioners, not only throughout the UK but, throughout the world.   Whilst Halliwick in the UK is just a part of that, we should remember that this is where it all began and we are an important part of its history—we can and should be very proud of that!

It is my privilege to be a small part of Halliwick—a Concept that has changed for the  better and enriched the lives of thousands of people.