Lifeguard's death shocks swimmers

SWIMMERS today told how they were struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of a veteran Ipswich lifeguard.Michael Coote's death while out fishing has left regular visitors to Crown Pools stunned.

SWIMMERS today told how they were struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of a veteran Ipswich lifeguard.

Michael Coote's death while out fishing has left regular visitors to Crown Pools stunned.

The 44-year-old, who was known as Micky, was a familiar face for swimmers at the Crown Street swimming complex as he spent the past 28 years watching over them and rescuing those in need of help.

Last year he saved the life of a toddler when he resuscitated the tot at the poolside but, as with all his rescues, he shrugged off the attention and praise his efforts attracted.

Among the tributes was one posted on the www.eveningstar.co.uk website by Hayley Alford who wrote: “Micky was the most sweet-hearted man I will ever meet.

“(I'll) love him always. He is sadly missed.”

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Adding to the tributes was a group of regular early morning swimmers who got to know Mr Coote over a number of years.

In a joint tribute, they said: “Some of us older swimmers even remember him when he first started lifeguarding at St Matthew's pool.

“He has always been a constant when it came to swimming.

“In all the years we have known him he always had a smile and kind words for you and has proved a real unintentional ambassador to Crown Pools.

“This is a really tragic loss for us all. Over the years we have seen him rescue many a swimmer in difficulty, always calm and always professional.

“In fact last year he used his lifesaving skills to successfully resuscitate a toddler, yet to him he couldn't understand the fuss and thanks as it was just his job.

“It's a real loss to Ipswich. The council should honour him in some way.”

Mr Coote joined Ipswich Borough Council's lifeguard team in 1980. Earlier this week the council's chief executive James Hehir described him as a “well-liked and hardworking colleague”.

Do you want to pay tribute to Micky Coote? Were you one of the people he saved during his years as a lifeguard? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk