The Late, Great Mr P

Born : (When Noah was a lad) – 11 January 1938

Died : 10 August 2016

The recent sad passing of Colin Pitchforth after his fight with cancer has hit us all, his family, his friends and colleagues and the many people on whose lives he had an impact on. It is a great loss to the family and to us all, and naturally grieving will take place, but one thing I know the family want, and I am sure Colin would say the same, is that we remember the good times, the laughter and the infectious enthusiasm that was Mr P, picking on the positives of life – if a song was Mr P then Bring Me Sunshine, the Morecambe and Wise signature tune would be it – the first lines say it all.

Bring me Sunshine, in your smile,
Bring me Laughter, all the while,
In this world where we live, there should be more happiness,

Colin came into Gainsborough in the 70’s and was a teacher in the town becoming Head Master at Ropery Road school, he became involved in swimming in the town in the late 70’s and was head Coach at Trenton Dolphins from its start to its end – over 30 years and it is here many will have had their first contact with Colin and will remember him from.

Colin was affectionately known as Mr P within the swimming clubs and the wider swimming community in the County and also within the schools he was involved in, some do not know him by any other name!

Colin was a big family man, nothing pleased him more than time with his children Alison, Stephen and Ian, their partners and the Grandchildren, whether it be a weekend in Portsmouth or skiing in the US, that time was precious to him and the memories are now a massive comfort to the family. Speaking with Mary, she reminded me of how ‘focused’ Colin was (focused = unsympathetic?), when Mary broke her ankle a few years ago and was virtually immobile she was woken at 6:30 by ‘Nurse Colin’ who brought in tea and toast for breakfast, checked she was OK and then said ‘see you later’ and went off to play golf for the day, leaving her to somehow fend for herself! He didn’t expect sympathy and didn’t easily offer it, well not to Mary on this occasion!

From his scrappy piece of paper to collect subs to the familiar sight of him in his shorts, T-shirt, baseball cap and occasionally tank top, whatever the time of year and weather outside, along with his booming voice echoing across the pool they are trademarks of a very caring teacher/coach who was always positive in his praise of swimmers, a friend to parents and supportive of colleagues, but he could sometimes be a little scathing of officialdom if it appeared to be acting negatively towards the sport he loved! Mr P had a great rapport with his swimmers and his loud laugh was as much a familiar sound on poolside as his words of encouragement booming out over the splashing water were. That infectious laugh was always not far away as kids came onto the poolside, sharing a joke with them, enquiring how their day had gone, and taking an interest in their other sports and activities – it was not unknown for him to go and watch them play Rugby or Netball to support them. Even when the swimmers left to start their working lives, or moved away to college and University Colin wanted to know how they were doing and celebrated their successes.

Until first taken away from the ‘bath side’ as he referred to it, 18 months ago due to cancer, Colin was as dedicated to swimming at 75+ as he was in his early years of teaching back in the 1970’s. Colin had been involved in swimming in Gainsborough for many, many years, with Gainsborough Swimming Club, then as a founder member of Trenton Dolphins Swimming Club when it was formed in 1979 and when in 2011, the three clubs in Gainsborough were pushed to into folding and being part of a new club Colin was very supportive of the process to ensure that the new club offered quality teaching and coaching for all swimmers, young and old, learn to swim and competitive, in the town and surrounding areas, taking the values of all three clubs into consideration, we even used his well stocked and manicured garden (his lawns were trimmed like a bowling green) for meetings!

Colin was Head Coach at Trenton Dolphins and had many successes at County, Midlands and National level and continued to teach with us at Gainsborough Dolphins and, up until his forced retirement due to illness 18 months ago, was still supporting swimmers and pushing them to gain County entry times, coming back to teach on a Monday night last September whilst battling the cancer. Colin also took great pleasure in teaching the young, new swimmers coming into the club at the early stages of swimming, teaching them the important basics and encouraging them into competitive swimming.

Colin had his way of doing things, parents and kids thought that much of him that even when they moved to the other side of town they still wanted to be at his school, he even collected them in his own car to take them to school. If kids wanted to swim but couldn’t get from school to the pool, who did the taxi service? Mr P, meeting kids at the High School and getting them to the pool for the Monday 4pm session. Mr P was not an angel, I think he would agree with that, he could annoy you by moving one of your swimmers on the basis of seeing one length of one stroke, sometimes not even consulting you but he did it for one reason only – to help get the best out of the swimmer which was for the benefit of the swimmer and ultimately the club.

A lot of us will associate Mr P just with swimming and his teaching at Ropery School but he was a very keen golfer, had been on various Board of Governors, did 1 to 1 teaching, loved gardening, rugby and something not realised by many … he liked to holiday!! Within the club the joke was always, ‘not another holiday… you have more holidays than Judith Chalmers’. He visited many different parts of the world, exposing the ‘locals’ to those legs along with the laugh but he was still thinking ‘swimming’ when away – once bringing a gift of swim hats back from a club in New Zealand that he befriended. However despite all his travels his heart was most definitely in Gainsborough.

Colin’s only concession to swimming was his famed holidays, otherwise rain or shine he rarely missed a session, gala, a County, Midland or National swim, for many years Mr P was swimming in Gainsborough in many people’s eyes.

On a personal level Mr P helped me in many ways not only in my swim teaching but off the ‘bath side’ as well. I was the Chair of Governors at Gainsborough Nursery School where Colin was on the board and his support and guidance was there when needed and as the Chair of both TD and GDSC his support for me and his knowledge of the swimming structure was invaluable at times, but I think the most important thing he has left me is the appreciation of others, the importance of ‘Thank you’.

At AGM’s he would always be the first to offer a vote of thanks for someone involved in the running of the club, whether that be Marie with the club shop, Julie as Treasurer or the ladies on the desk, he appreciated that for him to teach on the bath side, he needed a lot of other peoples support in the background.

We will all miss Mr P, the world will be a less colourful place but because of him for many of us it has been a good place to be for many years.

A final thought, possibly a Mr P mantra – I am sure Colin would agree with Morecambe and Wise – Life’s too short to be spent having anything but fun


Nigel Stevenson on behalf of GDSC

Chair GDSC, colleague and friend

Please add your thoughts and memories of Colin, aka Mr P to the online Book of Remembrance – Mr P and us below.

There will also be a book on the club desk and a collection box in aid of cancer support charities, Macmillan Foundation and Marie Curie chosen by the family.


Book of Remembrance

Mr P and us


  1. Deeply saddened to hear this news about Mr P. But I feel truly blessed to have know him and he was a huge influence in my life. I swam with Trenton Dolphins from a young age in the early 80’s through until the mid 90’s before university and indeed I can still hear his booming voice encouraging us in the pool. He built our confidence, believed in us and was an inspirational coach. I’m now a coach myself and when I reflect upon this I have no doubt that many of my values are based on Mr P’s influence. Quite simply, what a man who will be sorely missed. Sincere condolences to his family, you are all in my thoughts x

  2. Unfortunately Graham and I are on holiday when Colin’s funeral is on.
    Would you be able to express our condolences from us both and indeed Louth Sc as Colin was a real character and such a great person to have known. His pleasure in coaching was visible for all to see and his dry sense of humour was legendary.
    He will be missed by all who knew him
    Louth S C

  3. RIP Mr P, you were the best head teacher at north county we ever could have had, you made learning fun and we always use to look forward to when our class teacher was away as it meant we had you as the teacher for the day playing the crystal maze game with the bricks ;0) 0)… You will be greatly missed xx

  4. we are so sorry to here the sad news of Mr p he was a great coach and was there for all his swimmers even when he was poorly he still thought of them he will be sadly missed be myself Helen and Becky our thoughts r with Mrs p and family and friends rest in peace Mr p will never forget u

    Helen and Becky franks

  5. Mr P was such a wonderful, cheery, supportive coach and friend. He truly seemed to care about each and every swimmer, parent and family member of each swimmer and took time each day to chat and ask how you were. When Tonicha joined the club at 12 she was in the verge of giving up swimming; Mr P’s wonderful coaching and encouragement completely rejuvenated her enthusiasm in swimming and he truly got the absolute best out of her and all the swimmers. We will all miss him so much; even though no longer a GD swimmer Tonicha still made a point of going to see Mr P when she came home – this shows just how much the swimmers thought of him. All our love to Mary, Alison and family.

  6. Mr P you may be gone but you will never be forgotten. Your were my headmaster and my children’s swimming voice. I’ll remember you through swimming, school and country dancing ! Even when I left school and grew up in could never call you sir or Colin….you were always Mr P and always will be. Shine bright up there x

  7. Oh mr p what a fantastic man you were!,never failed to believe in me or stand my back when ever thing went wrong!, you weren’t a coach,you were a grand father and the best possible coach any swimmer could wish for!,I hope your sessions aren’t too hard up there and I know you will be watching down on us telling us to stop being so daft!, rip mr p we all love you!

  8. a true friend to us all he never failed to make us laugh or loose hope in us a big part has been taken but he will always be with us all and live on in our hearts all the williams family have a lot to thank mr p for and memories sleep tight
    rest in peace

  9. So sad to hear this!! Mr P was a huge part of my life, not just my headteacher but a support and Rock in a much needed time. Even after leaving school he never failed to remember you!! Sending so much love to his family in this time!! RIP Mr P xxx

  10. Great headteacher, great swimming coach and great all round gentleman. Always remembered his pupils and said hello to me and called me by my name even though I left school nearly 30 years ago. RIP Mr P, you will be sadly missed xx

  11. RIP Mr P! You were one of the best! Town will not be the same now we won’t hear you laughing across the market place. Everything you did was for the good of other people and that people will never forget just like you never forgot people’s names many years after leaving school. Thank you for making my primary school days some of the best and memoriable days of my life!!! Be it country dancing, Christmas plays or summer fayres 🙂 RIP xxx

  12. RIP Mr P..
    A lovely head teacher xxx
    Always remembered you whenever he saw you, years after leaving school.
    Hope you have sunshine & laughter up there Mr P
    Sending love to his family & friends xx

  13. Mr P was a huge part of my life.
    As a young lad I was always very lazy when training, I can hear him shouting at me still, I wouldn’t have achieved anything without him.
    R.I.P Mr P.

  14. Mr p I remember the very first time I met you just before starting north county when you asked my name and I told you it was Lillian which was my nick name and I was most upset because you wanted to call me Cheryl. Seems a long time ago but you were a brilliant head teacher and a wonderful man. Rip sir xxx

  15. RIP Mr P!! So many memories to look back on at school with you. Such an importation to many kids all over with your help and support. Thoughts to your loved ones xxxxxxxx

  16. Mr p was a great headmaster my greatest memory of him was when he dressed up as ginger spice for the spice girls tribute at the summer fayre. Rest in peace you not be forgotten

  17. I feel privileged to have known Mr P. He was my head teacher and I was one those children he taxied to and from North County regularly. He then taught my children to swim and helped my son through the 11+ and into the High School. I will never forget all of the things he taught me and his lovely laugh. Thinking of Mary, their children, grandchildren and extended family at this sad time.

  18. Goodbye Mr P, I remember you coaching us all at swimming and also being my head teacher at North county Primary School. A well known face to many and certainly a unique personality that has cast your name in history to all that had the pleasure of meeting you. A sad sad day, my thoughts are with your family.

  19. So sad to hear this news! When I was taken out of Morton school mid term it was mr p who took me and my sister in,my school life took a dramatic turn for the better at this point! Also went to Trenton Dolphins, possibly the only man you can hear clearly underwater lol! Rest in peace mr p xx

  20. What a wonderful man he was. Without his enthusiasm and encouragement for learning I wouldnt be in the position I am in now. May he rest in peace and my heart goes out to his family xxx

  21. They say you never forget a good teacher, this is the most accurate statement I have ever heard. You were a great headteacher who bellowed out “all things bright and beautiful” louder than anyone ever should have. You taught us the game of sticks at North county along with how to swim. Many times I heard “you boy!” at the top of your voice, but as kids we knew we could always talk to Mr P / Pitchy / Mr Pitchforth. Even years after leaving school you would stop me in the street and ask how I had been and what I was doing these days. I used to think how you had never aged since I was 6 years old! Thank you for being the best head teacher a child could ever wish for. Sleep well.

  22. RIP mr P, I’ve got so many happy memories of you at north county school, what a legend! A brilliant head master and a great man ?

  23. So many memories of Mr P. I first came across Mr P as an 10 yr old, my headteacher, the man with the big loud voice. Oh my I was scared of him. How little did I know, behind this booming voice was a genuine, caring man who would steer my life in all directions. As my coach at Trenton Dolphins I remember his passion and commitment never wavering. He even picked me up from school when my interest wavered and I couldn’t be bothered to walk. I even had the pleasure of spending numerous weekends camping at Holme Pierrepont canoeing with Ian. Come rain or shine he was there, people think he’s loud on the side of the pool, I’m telling you, you can hear him 2000m away on a canoe regatta course as well.
    One weekend away in Bala watching the world championships in torrential rain. Colin just laughed and walked in his shorts saying there’s not many watching. No Colin they’ve all been washed away.
    Mr P even liked amateur rally driving, but that’s a story those involved were sworn to secrecy. What happened at Fenton stayed at Fenton lol.
    These are just a few of my memories, there’s thousands more. Mr P, you were a legend, I will truly miss you
    Love to Mary, Stephen,Alison and Ian and families x

  24. Mr P – welcomed Matt and then Ben to train and swim for your club as well as welcoming me as a coach. From primary school swimming to arena league you were inspirational to both my two boys. Thank you. Tracey Broughton.

  25. RIP Colin.The term “great” massively over used nowadays.For you Mr P it seems totally inadequate.
    Dignity,class and humility in abundance.Tremendous help to our daughter Shannon when she swam with dolphins.

  26. So sad to hear the news. The girls wish to say thanks to Mr P, they really enjoyed swimming for him. My thoughts are with his family.

  27. RIP Mr P. You were the best ever teacher & head teacher any child could of wished for. From the assembly birthday cake with a 10p mix inside, to the country dancing!! Pushing us to be the best we could be and teaching us we all belong. Teaching me and my siblings throughout primary school. I still refer to you when describing my school days with my children. You never walked by without asking how we all are & never forgot a face.
    You will be missed dearly but remembered forever.

  28. “Kick!…kick!…kick!…”
    Made such a difference to so many people. Gone from our lives but always in our hearts.

  29. All three of my children were lucky enough to have Mr P as their coach. His commitment to all the swimmers , regardless of their ability, was second to none. He managed to pass on his enthusiasm and love for swimming to so many, he certainly made my children believe in themselves.
    We have so many fond memories of Mr P, we will remember him with complete affection. We send all our love to Mary and family.
    Mr P…an inspirational man. RIP xxx

  30. What a legend! So many memories from North County, always believed in us all. Absolutely inspirational and one of the loveliest caring people I have ever met. Will be missed by so many. Sleep well Mr P, you’ve earned your rest xx

  31. So hard to know what to put about such an amazing man. I had the privilege of being a pupil at North Country, who would be stood outside your office, not because I was in trouble, but waiting for my lift to swimming. I like many others have such a vast amount of memories that I could keep writing all night. One of the most moving moments, was whilst you had a break between treatment last year, but attended one of the club championships. The applause both you and Mary received,was so moving there are simply no words to describe it. Ben and Luke both had the pleasure of knowing you and will miss you too. You really were one in a million. RIP Mr. P . All our love to Mary,Alison,Stephen,Ian and family.

  32. A fantastic headteacher and person. He supported my passion for sport and provided much help, guidance and many opportunities for me. He influenced my life from a young age for which I am eternally grateful. A very sad loss, one of a kind, RIP.

  33. Mr p was not only my swimming coach he was my head master and without him I wud not be where I am today he got me through school and then swimming he gave up his time and his house to teach me I was always there doing something fitness work or talking how to get better at coaching as I help out abit.

    He gave up his house one year for a fun day for the club this man is a star and will never be forgotten
    Rip love always

  34. He was a unique and well-liked guy. His infectious laugh was so recognisable. Sympathies to all his family xx

  35. R.i.p mr P. Thankyou sooo much for everything you have done. In my life from primary school with the country dancing, assembly and class teaching to helping me to swim through school and at the TD club.

    Even years later when i became lifeguard at the pool you never once missed a time to say hi and speak to me.
    Tho my ears still echo from hearing you shout kick, kick, kick. to swimmers for hours whilst i was there lifeguarding. You will never be forgotten.

  36. Legend! That’s all I can say

  37. RIP Mr P. You taught me never to give up and that hard work always pays off whilst making it fun. You helped me and my brother achieve great success in swimming which I will never forget. Wish you could coach us for one more session

  38. This is such sad news to hear. Mr. P went from being my head teacher at north county to then helping kickstart my swimming career. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have the confidence I have today.

    Thank you so much Mr.P god bless.

  39. Great headmaster and teacher, positive vivid memories of my primary school days from this great man. Unexpectantly he came round to our house years later following a break in as he was volunteering for victim support, even though I had left primary school many years before he recognised me and we had a chat about how I was doing and getting on. Just a generally great bloke, RIP Mr P

  40. Mr p was a great man n we will sadly miss very much because he was my headteacher wen I was a ropery road school xxxxx R.i.P Mr p xxxxxx

  41. What you did for me personally from the age of 7 to 17 I can’t totally put into words. Advice,support and guidance. Laughter is never far away when I think of your booming voice. Thanks for the following : hours and hours of coaching , touring the country’s Swimming pools and Leisire centres,Summer fairs ,Teaching me how to play cricket ,breaking the ice so we could swim at cassies pool in the winter, advice on football, helping me pass my eleven plus, cups of tea at your house before training,encouraging words about county/midlands/nationals,always looked as you as a teacher, a coach and then a friend. Sleep well Colin. Always remembered as one of life’s characters. My thoughts are with Mary,Alison,Ian and all of Colins family and friends.R.I.P from kev x .

  42. Very sad to see this news but what a great man and so supportive and encouraging to so many. I’ll never forget the countless times he collected me to take me training after school from QEHS in the 90’s to being in his shorts at the Castle Hills pool when it was freezing! “Go, go, go” will never leave me and his belief in your ability to achieve has pushed me on outside the pool inside and outside the sporting arena. RIP Mr P and thank you. X

  43. Mr P was the best headteacher anyone could ever wish fo. He was a fantatstic teacher and will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Mr P x

  44. Sorry to hear Mr P has passed away, I knew him from North-county and TD he was a well loved headteacher and coach! Mr P would always would say hello, he would never judge you and always had a good word to say I knew how to make you feel better.
    You be sadly missed by all!

  45. RIP Colin a very sad loss of a great man you have taught both my boys David and Jamie Panter and we all have great memories of you I would like to send condolences to you’re wife Mary and you’re children and family

  46. RIP Mr P. We crossed paths a few times because I spent most of my time messing about but now I’m older and hopefully wiser it worked out in the end. Has been good in recent years staying touch with Mary being a customer of mine.

  47. Sorry to hear Colin has passed. He should have trademarked ‘the voice’ and as a 9 year old you knew he was watching you in his role as Head Teacher. Unfortunately due to going away to secondary school I stopped swimming but the frequency of his voice at the pool is something I won’t forget. I seem to remember a pair of worn red shorts that he was wearing in the early eighties that he had on ten years later when astutely wandering Roses Sports ground watching a game of cricket. We chatted for a while about the game. Part of Gainsborough fabric no more. RIP you did very well.

  48. My favourite swimming coach. When just think of Mr P, I think of a booming voice shouting encouragement while doing lots of lengths! And as much as I complained, I thank him for him now. I think of the technique he taught me and he will always be part of me and my swimming. Thank you Mr P x

  49. What a great man he brought me so far in my swimming by believing in my ability to do well he will be greatly missed by so love to all his family xxx

  50. Deeply saddened by the news. Mr P was the most fantastic man, who had a huge influence on my life and the directions I took. I was one of those he did the taxi service for, collecting me from school to get to training on time. He was always smiling and always genuinely interested in our lives. He will never be forgotten. love to Mary and the family x

  51. Echo the words of my son Kevin so true Kev

    On a personal level Diane and I had the great pleasure of knowing Mr P both through Ropery school where Diane was Chair of the PTA and I was on the board of Governor’s, and both of us spent many hours watching Kevin & Sarah at Ropery School & Trenton Dolphins, so much so I ended up Chair of Trenton Dolphins and became a qualified Lincs ASA timekeeper, judge and starter. Why you ask answer down to one man Mr P because of his endless enthusiasm both in his teaching and coaching, his ability to get the most out of both children and adults, no easy task, and above all his laughter and booming voice

    Colin you will me sadly missed not only by your family but the countless pupils and swimmers that you guided in your own unique way

    RIP Colin thanks for the memories

    Brian & Diane xx

  52. Rip mr p he was my head teacher plus gymnastics coach at north county what a legend, this man truly was one in a million, thoughts are with his family at this time xx

  53. Mr P, a legend! I have so many happy memories from swimming club days, it was great fun being crammed into his Triumph Dolomite along with the other swimmers from High School. I’m glad I got to see Mr P recently to chat to him and hear that crazy laugh again, he made such a difference to so many people’s lives. Thoughts to Mary and family x

  54. I just want to say thank you for being a great friend but also an even better teacher, especially when you rewarded us a polo which you promised us the week before, and after races and club camps, you would always give us all praise for achieve our goals a s you would always tell us to aim higher and never give up. R.I.P

  55. I must admit he wasn’t my favourite teacher at North County all those years back, but it was a great school to be at, and that of course was no small part down to his leadership. You realise those things when you grow older. Another chapter of our lives gone but not forgotten. Thoughts with Colin’s family and friends. RIP Mr P.

  56. A great head teacher. He loved being in the classroom and having fun with us playing games like countdown.
    Mr P will be sadly missed.

  57. R.I.P Mr P it’s such a loss to lose such a great bloke who was so loving,caring and thoughtful,couldn’t of asked for a better headteacher always full of life and always smiling and up for a laugh and such an inspiration to many…. U will be sadly missed by many.Sleep tight Mr P xxxx

  58. So very sorry to hear this news. My late Mum Pat Greatorex worked alongside Mr Pitchforth when they were both Headteachers in Gainsborough. He was a lovely man. My condolences to his family.

  59. So very sad to here Mr P has passed away. It is many years since he taught both my daughters (Sarah and Lucy) any myself to swim, but he is a person never to be forgotten. I remember the hours he spent on the poolside encouraging the children to swim, they could sit at the end and miss many lengths, but he was there with a clap of his hands and a “well done there” keep it up when a length was finished. Always in my memory will be the ski holidays we shared with him, Mary and his family – what fun time they were and the way he will be remembered by myself and girls.

  60. R.I.P Mr p I remember country dancing at Ropery School you will be missed xx

  61. A lovely head teacher xxx
    Always remembered you whenever he saw you, years after leaving school.
    Shine bright up there Mr P
    Gone but never forgotten
    Sending love to his family & friends xx

  62. Mr P it took people a while to work out you were my Grandad because even I called you Mr P. You had me swimming hard since I was 4 years making sure my parents had me up to standard when I got up to the deep end, after that you haven’t let me give up you taught me that putting in the hard work meant I got the results. You have dedicated so much of your own time to help thousands of people, treating everybody the same and making sure they knew that they could suceed. Without fail you would make everybody laugh, no matter what mood they came to swimming in. Spending many hours with you whether it was training, at a gala or just at home I got very close to and you have got me to where I am today. There so much more I could say, you are a true Legend. You will forever be in my heart and will never be forgotten by the people who were lucky enough to meet you, you have brightened up our lives and will be greatly missed. I am proud to say I’m your grandson. RIP Mr P (Grandad)

  63. RIP Mr P. x

  64. Lovely Guy, thinking about Mary and his beloved family.x

  65. So surprised to find this post on my facebook page today. Having been involved with all 3 Gainsborough swimming clubs over the years, including the amalgamation of all 3 & Colin being head teacher when my girls attended North County Primary, I have mixed memories of Colin. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but very much committed to anything he got his teeth into. Many years ago, he allowed me to train with his swimmers, working on my technique, before I joined masters swimming & began competing again. Although, training with Colin was in Castle Hills old school pool, it got me focused again, got me swimming, got me teaching swimming & I actually won medals. Like him or loath him, he will be missed by soooo many. His infectious laugh or shouts of encouragement will not be heard echoing around the poolside & that’s such a shame. My condolences to the family. RIP Mr P. X

  66. Very sorry to hear of Mr. P’s passing. He was an inspiration to me in the pool during my childhood and i feel the things he instilled in me have gone along way into making me into the adult I am today,thanks Colin.

  67. What an amazing and inspiring man. Mr P exuded warmth and was full of character – one of life’s true leaders. He taught me to swim (corrected that ‘screw kick’!) and swimming is still something I love to this day. RIP Mr P x

  68. Mr pitchforth was an awesome headteacher! He used to tell my mum I was his little ray of sunshine in a morning. She would however disagree after it taking her a good 10 mins to get me onto the school bus kicking and screaming. He never believed a word. Whenever our school bus was late and we missed the bus to school swimming lessons he would just nip us up in his car to join the rest of the class. An inspirational, kind hearted man. It was a pleasure to be a north county. Rest in peace up there. Love to his family and friends, hopefully you can take comfort from everyones kind memories and words. Xxx

  69. RIP Mr Pitchforth,

    An inspiration to the sport of swimming, never really swam for Trenton Dolphins but he was always there before I got in the pool. His laugh was loud and had a huge smile. Will be missing very much so.

  70. What a man,what a character a one in a million that will Leave a big hole in a lot of people’s lives. Mr P RIP. Our loss is heaven’s gain xxxxx

  71. Very sad to hear the news of Mr P. I had the pleasure of growing up with Mr P as my head teacher at Ropery school and also my swimming coach for many years. Even when I stopped swimming but would go to the leisure centre years after to swim to keep fit he would still train me and get me into the swimming club lanes. I remember on icy winter days he would be at Ropery school especially early to throw water onto the concrete so we could go into school early and skid on the ice, no health & safety rules back then. I also can never forget the time at a gala when someone got a huge hairbrush stuck in my hair just before my 400m butterfly and he was trying to put a swimming cap over the hairbrush so I could still swim, needless to say he wasn’t successful and someone else swam in my place. So many years of his guidance and company, so many lives he has touched it is so sad but I will never forget that addictive laugh and “kick kick kick kick”. Will miss you Mr P XX

  72. Colin taught me at trenton dolphins many moons ago, great passionate instructor. Thought of him offer over the years. Rip great man xxx

  73. Such a sad loss…..Mr P was a great inspiration to many…….The hard work, dedication and time that he gave to each and every one of us all at Trenton Dolphins….
    In a training session you would never put your feet on the floor, if you did firstly you where very brave and secondly you would sure know it was a big mistake!!! In fact everyone would know you had put your feet on the floor!lol. But Mr P was only doing it for one reason only….All for our own personal achievements, he wanted the best for all of us…..and I personally thank him for that!
    Truly wonderful…..Thinking of his family at this sad and difficult time. RIP Mr P.xxxx

  74. God bless , I remember this man in the 70’s . His echoing voice round the pool kept me going.
    Lovely man. RIP Mr P

  75. Really sad to hear this news, I remember Mr P well from when I used to train with Trenton Dolphins Swimming Club in the early 90’s. He was a great character and a really nice bloke who will be sadly missed. Thoughts go out to all his family at this sad time! RIP Mr P

  76. Mr p was my swimming coach he was an amazing man. I can always remember when I got a pb on my 25 meters front crawl he was just shouting yes yes yes always used to run beside the pool timing everyone what a legend RIP. Xxx

  77. R.I.P Mr P. I had the pleasure of having you as my headteacher at North County which I have so many happy memories of you teaching us when our teacher was ill and of course the country dancing and when our school bus was late you use to take us in the car to our swimming lesson, also I always remember the school assembly birthday hat with the sweets and the birthday song we sang. Even when I grew up you always stopped to say hello and my son also loved having you at Gainsborough nursery and Gainsborough dolphins. Thank you for being the best head teacher. My condolences to his family xxx

  78. Mr p. was the best he always had time for anyone. I enjoyed every minute at ropery and 99% of that was down to Mr p. being fun and caring about all the pupils. so dedicated even after starting my own family he would stop and chat and as how the family was. R.I.P Mr p. they don’t make headteachers like you anymore x

  79. Deeply saddened by the news of Mr. P’s passing. Not only a coach, an inspiration to many and a friend of us all. The fondest memory of Mr. P I have was Colin telling me to believe in myself, that “pain is temporary, victory is forever” although I never made it to a major competition, this is a life lesson I will hold onto and apply to everything I do. It was Mr. P that inspired me to start teaching and it is still Mr. P that inspires me to become a better teacher and help other swimmers achieve their goals in swimming. Here’s to you Mr. P, the most dedicated and selfless person I have had the pleasure of knowing, and may you live on in the fond memories of countless swimmers in and around Lincolnshire. You may be gone, but you’ll always be in our hearts.

  80. A great head teacher was loved by all children will be sadly missed by all Mr P you were the best RIP

  81. Only got to know ‘Mr P’ in the last couple years due to him helping my son pass his 11+ (Thank you Mr P), although he was ill then he was always smiling, with the booming voice!!!! All he wanted was to help the kids get to High School, even whilst in hospital he was sending work for my son to do. Gainsborough and the children of Gainsborough has lost a great, great friend and Mr P will be massively missed by all who knew him. Again a massive thank you to Mr P and Mary for all your help. You are in our thoughts. RIP

  82. My children went through north county when he was head teacher there. I was his chairman of governors for around ten years . His first P F A treasure for a long time. During those years I got to know him well. He was a great teacher in the class room. Plus his work with Trenton Dolphins . Of which my children went. He did a lot for north county and swimming in the town.

  83. Mr P what a fantastic head teacher he was and always had time for his pupils,always came into the classroom and brighten your day with classroom games.Thanks for the memories gone but never forgotten

  84. Am so so sad hearing this. What a loss. I cannot begin to describe the memories. RIP Mr P!! Nobody could ever fill your shoes (or shorts). Gainsborough has lost a legend. Xxx

  85. Just heard of Mr Ps passing. He was a huge part of my life from an 11 yr old through to my mid 20s. Always there when the going got tough in the swimming pool with encouragement to keep pushing harder. We went all over the country together competing,he was always there for me. I cannot thank you enough for what you did for me over the years, without you and your tireless dedication i wouldnt have achieved what I did, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today…you will always be in my thoughts…Steve Taylor x

  86. Heard this evening through the power of social media about Mr.P’s passing. He was my first competitive coach – loved swimming at Trenton Dolphins, many fond memories. Lovely man and great coach. X

  87. RIP Mr P. a great swim coach, mentor and friend. My kids would not be anywhere near the level they are without your coaching.

  88. RIP MR P you were the best swimming coach i have ever known and a brilliant headmaster at ropery school were my daughter went,you are going to be truly missed by the youngsters and us older i would not have gotten anywhere without your perseverance because i could be a bit of a pain (sometimes),you are gone but will never be forgotten you will still be looking over everybody at the baths xx

  89. Such a shock there wasn’t a greater man to people of all ages he always had a smile my daughter Emma enjoyed every minute of time she spent with MR p and his delicate way of making everyone who he was involved with my condolences to all the family God bless you all xxx

  90. I can still hear that voice encouraging us all on when speeding up the lanes at the swimming pool and you always got us to give our best, hard work, committment but i always enjoyed my time swimming and look back on those days with a smile on my face. You will be sadly missed by so many. My thoughts are with your family. RIP Mr P xxx

  91. One of the best coaches and most respected people in Gainsborough. He was an amazing and lovely person who cared about all swimmers and students he taught, he believed in everyone and make them feel great about themselves. I wouldn’t have got anywhere close or have succeeded in the way I have if it wasn’t for Mr P. He was caring, understanding and an all round inspirational person.
    Rest In Peace Mr P

  92. All these comments and sadness shows what an impact Mr P had on us all. Not only was he a fantastic teacher to us he knew each one of us personally and had such passion and a caring nature for his pupils. Making primary enjoyable. Rip 2 a legend in gainsborough ?

  93. RIP MR p, you will be missed. You taught me so much and gave me the strength to never give up.i learnt so much from you whilst at dolphins n some of my best memories of childhood were there. Thankyou for everything. Always on our hearts. Xx

  94. Many thanks for a life lived in service to our community.

  95. A truly wonderful headteacher you will be greatly missed Mr P xxx

  96. So many cherished memories of my time at North County when he was headmaster. He was such a blessing to many.

  97. Wow Nigel that is amazing. Well done you.
    Pitchy would of been proud. The black ice we used to skid on was amazing, also he used to find socks and shoes for all the kids that used to arrive without any from out of nowhere. He believed in my son at dolphins.kick kick kick boy!!! Xx

  98. When I was in the fire service Mr P always asked for us to attend the school Summer Fare which we did. His lovely voice use to bellow around the playground whilst doing the “spin the wheel” stall and some years he went into the stocks for the kids to throw wet sponges at him, so I always got the hose reel of the appliance and let some of the kids wet him with low pressure and can see him now smiling and say “Oh no Mr Frost” … He was brilliant to Rita and I when we lost our daughter aged 21 in a car accident , God bless ya Mr P always in our memories and thoughts xx

  99. Very sad news, we only knew Mr P for a short while but he made such an impression on both of us. Leah was going through a tough time when we knew Mr P he made her smile again which I will never ever forget. He was one of a kind

  100. The most amazing, generous and selfless man I ever met. When I swam in competitions/galas for GD, before I moved, he was always so welcoming and this radiated through all the swimmers in the club. No matter how any swimmer had swum, he always gave you a pat on the back and had a laugh with you and gave you a few pointers on how you may improve next time, there was never any negative criticism, everything about him was positive and he gave off such a positive energy. Having moved to a new area he really helped me settle in and without his support and constant encouragement I know I would not have been able to do it. He told me that life was a matter of steps, every progress no matter how small was a step and even if you had to take one step back every so often you were still moving forward. Even when my swimming commitment decreased whenever I turned up he always has a smile and regardless of what my day had been like and what mood I was in he always was there with a encouragement and an infectious laugh. He was always so interested in how my studies were going and when I received my grades for my top choice university he was as pleased for me as my parents. I remember going to see him whilst in hospital last summer and although being really unwell, he was still happy and laughing, wanting to know how I was doing and how my course was going, he never focused on how he felt he was always wanting to know how you were, never letting on how he was really feeling, this constant kindness, selflessness and braveness will be some of the many amazing qualities of Mr P I will remember. I also remember going to his house when he was feeling better and again he was himself and I am glad this was the last time I saw him so I will always remember him how he always was. Here’s to the greatest man who has ever crossed my path and made such an impact on mine and so many other people’s lives, may you rest in peace Mr P.

  101. Colin,
    Happy,outgoing,infectious,celebratory ,smiling,humorous ,engaging,effervescent ,guiding and caring,but most of all never ever wrong,lol.
    We skied your route,and we smiled
    We ate at the restaurant you chose ,and we smiled.
    Your family is a credit to you and your values.
    You will be sorely missed and thank you for enriching our lives.
    Rest in peace

  102. I was so very saddened to hear the news of Mr P’s passing. He was the best swimming coach ever & he taught me so much. I joined Trenton Dolphins in the late 80’s and I have to say swimming wasn’t my first passion. I remember (like it was yesterday) having lessons in the little pool & having to pick objects up off the floor. As I hated putting my head under water, there was no way I was doing that, so I used my feet instead!!!
    But as I grew to like & then love swimming, I moved into the big pool & met Mr P. And here began the endless training sessions! After school training, Wednesday nights at Castle Hills pool ( or cassy’s as we fondly called it), Sunday nights training and many a Saturday spent travelling the country, on Eagre coaches to swimming galas. Mr P always made sure there were bottles of pop on the coach when we went to galas!
    And then there was the exchange trip to Lambsheim in Germany. We had a ball on that trip, especially when the bus broke down on the way and my dad, along with Natalie Moran’s dad helped to fix it!!!!
    I made a lot of friends during my swimming days & even after I left in 1995, as college & then university called, my mum would always let me know, when she’d bumped into Mary & Colin in Gainsborough.
    Mr P’s continued encouragement never failed to make you feel part of it, even when you were coming last in a race, he still told you that you’d done very well!
    I will always remember you with such fond memories, Mr P and you’ve touched so very many people lives.
    RIP Mr P X X

  103. Mr p you were the best swimming teacher I ever had you will all ways be in my heart you have taught me so much thank you and i no you will be watching the club and me xx