“A ROUGH cut diamond with a heart of gold,” is how Overton’s unsung hero is described.
Charlie Thorn has been shortlisted for the BBC Sports Unsung Hero award after teaching generations of children in Overton to swim for more than 30 years. He has also devoted two decades to an archery club.
The awards recognise those who have dedicated their lives to promoting sport in the community and a hero is chosen in every region of the UK throughout November. An overall BBC Sports Unsung Hero will then be picked from the regional winners and announced on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year programme in December.
Amy Mosdell, of Overton, nominated Charlie, who taught her to swim and now teaches her children.
She said: “His passion and energy for the swimming club is truly inspiring and the village would be at a loss if this was not available.
“It is taken for granted that it will always be there, but it is only due to Charlie’s commitment that it still remains open after all these years.
“Charlie truly epitomises the London 2012 Olympic ethos ‘inspire a generation’.”
Charlie has been running Lordsfield Swimming Club – an outdoor pool facility based at the primary school – for 33 years, alongside looking after his four children singlehandedly and his full-time job.
The 69-year-old said: “I am always busy, it keeps you young. It’s something you do, you enjoy it and you get on with it.”
He also teaches archery at the Overton Black Arrows and ran a play scheme for the children of the village for ten years.
Every year Charlie can be seen around Overton as the village’s Father Christmas, visiting local schools, nurseries and groups.
Les Soper-Dyer, of the Overton Black Arrows, said: “I think you could describe him as a rough cut diamond with a heart of gold.
“What he reminds me of is the Bible passage Luke 6:38 – in a few words it is the more you give the more you receive. Charlie has been a giver the whole of his life.”
Overton and Basingstoke councillor Paula Baker provided a reference for Amy’s nomination.
She said: “They always say that if you want to get something done you should ask a busy person and there is no better proof of that than in the case of Charlie Thorn.
“Overton is a wonderful village with a really strong heart to it.
Charlie is one of those people who keeps that heart beating.”