Club members aim to arrest dwindling support for swimming

ONLY one founder of the Lismore Diggers Memorial Club remains alive today, but a member of 45 years is doing his damnedest to ensure the swimming club remains relevant 65 years after it began.

Ash Grainger, 81, retired from his role as coach and secretary some weeks ago, but remains resolute in his support of the club, now keeping a close eye and steady hand focused on stopwatch duties.

He hopes to bolster the club's membership and community support, which is strong, but dwindling.

"I find it's going backwards and so we're on a push to recruit new members," he said.

"The only surviving founding member is Phil LeCornu now. We used to have all the families of the members swimming, but it has dropped off steadily as they've all gone.

"Now we're looking for members from 18 to 80 plus. We want to get families involved."

According to Mr Grainger, the club offers "camaraderie and friendly competition" and has decades of swimming experience likely helpful to up-and-coming younger swimmers.

The club is one of the Far North Coast Zone RSL swimming clubs and competes with Australian Imperial Force clubs annually.

Mr Grainger was conscripted in the 1950s, but was lucky enough to dodge both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

He said the club recognised the brave people who were not so fortunate.

"I moved a motion a few weeks ago to add memorial to the name in memory of those diggers who started the club," he said.

"I was conscripted...but I was one of the lucky ones."

The club was founded in 1950 with a membership of 80 Second World War diggers, led by president Ernie Budnick.

Call secretary Sue Green at 0459 224 505 for more information.

An RSL membership is not needed to join.

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