Olympic diver, team manager, coach & 2020 judge turns befriender in lockdown
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 a volunteer with the charity Communicare.
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 in Southampton, which is committed to helping eradicate loneliness in the city, with its invaluable telephone befriending work.
Communicare is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that wants to eradicate loneliness and isolation in Southampton with the assistance of its band of Communiteers, who volunteer to give their time freely. The charity’s Good Neighbours’ Network normally supports nearly 400 individuals/families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks including one-to-one befriending, transport to activities, such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties it hosted before the lockdown and shopping for, or, pre-COVID-19, with, those it helps.
“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.
To find out more about Communicare, please visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk.