‘Sacked’ swim coaches want answers

Bicester Advertiser: Craig and Kirsten Pankhurst say they will take their case further Craig and Kirsten Pankhurst say they will take their case further

TWO swimming coaches say they are taking a Bicester club to an employment tribunal over the way they were dismissed.

Craig Pankhurst and his wife Kirsten had been head coaches with Bicester Blue Fins since 2009. They say they were fired in November without notice and have still not been given a reason for their dismissal.

The couple, of Station Road, Ardley, near Bicester, claim BBF, which meets at Bicester Leisure Centre, did not use the correct disciplinary process.

They want to be re-instated and say they are taking the matter to an employment tribunal. A date for this has yet to be set.

BBF told the Oxford Mail it would not go into the “nature of the issues” around the sacking, but said it acted in the best interest of its swimmers.

Mr Pankhurst, 34, said the couple were fired via an email. He explained: “We had no warning, no disciplinary, nothing that led us to believe we were in a precarious position. Still to date we have not been told the reason our contract has been terminated.”

He said there had been “tension” over how extra swimming time was allocated.

But Mr Pankhurst, who won Cherwell District Council’s coach of the year award in 2013, said: “Since November 25, we have been trying to sort things out and tried to meet with the committee but they absolutely refused to meet us.

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“If there was something we had done then we would understand it, but we have been given absolutely no information at all.

“We both feel we have been wronged.”

Mr and Mrs Pankhurst, both former international competitive swimmers for Great Britain and South Africa respectively, say they led successful changes at the club which saw its ranking go from 11th to fourth in the county.

They claims their plans for taking their dismissal to a tribunal is backed by the British Swimming Coaches Association.

In a letter sent to club members, Mrs Pankhurst, 37, said she and her husband acted in the interest of the children and there was “no issues surrounding our integrity in any form”.

She said: “Craig and I are still shocked and devastated by our dismissal. We feel betrayed by those we trusted and offended by the manner in which our dismissal has been handled.”

A statement from BBF said the club had stopped using the services of Swimming Unlimited — the couple say this was a logo the couple used on invoices but was not a business name.

It said: “It isn’t appropriate that we go into detail due to the nature of the issues that prompted this action, but we tried and failed to resolve them during a meeting with a representative from Swimming Unlimited, and it was with regret that this was the necessary outcome.

“We have an obligation to act in the best interests of our swimmers, and the members have been kept informed throughout.”

The club said it was “grateful”

for the couple’s help in achieving good results, but was now looking to the future.

Comments (23)

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4:44pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Bicester Blue Fins says...

Anyone reading this story would get the totally wrong impression as to what happened. The Pankhursts we're not employed directly by Bicester Blue Fins, so there won't be an employment tribunal - and to suggest their company was just a logo on an invoice simply untrue. In addition, they are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract their company had with the club being terminated - which was terminated in accordance with the terms of that contract.

We can't give any more detail but their unfortunate media campaign is not based on the facts of what happened and to say they want answers is also not true - they appear to just want publicity.

This unfortunate affair should not detract from the amazing success the club is experiencing at local, regional and national level. We have a new head coach and ten new swimmers have joined or returned as a result - including one hoping to trial for the Commonwealth Games. Indeed, all the club's swimmers are excited about the future.
Anyone reading this story would get the totally wrong impression as to what happened. The Pankhursts we're not employed directly by Bicester Blue Fins, so there won't be an employment tribunal - and to suggest their company was just a logo on an invoice simply untrue. In addition, they are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract their company had with the club being terminated - which was terminated in accordance with the terms of that contract. We can't give any more detail but their unfortunate media campaign is not based on the facts of what happened and to say they want answers is also not true - they appear to just want publicity. This unfortunate affair should not detract from the amazing success the club is experiencing at local, regional and national level. We have a new head coach and ten new swimmers have joined or returned as a result - including one hoping to trial for the Commonwealth Games. Indeed, all the club's swimmers are excited about the future. Bicester Blue Fins
  • Score: 49

4:59pm Sat 25 Jan 14

A Carter says...

My mate swims there and says he is glad they left. much better atmosphere now apparently
My mate swims there and says he is glad they left. much better atmosphere now apparently A Carter
  • Score: 38

6:14pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Vernon Spools says...

Sounds like sour grapes
Sounds like sour grapes Vernon Spools
  • Score: 41

6:33pm Sun 26 Jan 14

spursroy says...

As Craig's father, there's a lot I'd like to be able to say in response to yet another unqualified and inaccurate comment by an unnamed representative of Bicester Blue Fins Swimming Club (by the way, isn't it strange that comments representing BBF are always made anonymously..??!!) However, in keeping with Craig's and Kirsten's dignified and considered management of this situation, I'll refrain from publishing my inner thoughts.....for now..!!

As the only member of Craig's immediate family allowed to attend last nights BBF awards evening (Craig, Kirsten and other dissenting parents had earlier been told that they would be denied entry), I was delighted to witness the very obvious show of support given to them through the tumultuous ovation given to their daughter as she received her awards. It was very telling. Nonetheless, it was tremendously sad for her that her parents weren't there to share in the celebration of their young daughter's success.

Being emotionally involved, perhaps the most pleasing thing for me was to witness the early exit from last night's event of a very significant number of swimmers and their parents in order that they could meet Craig and Kirsten in a friendlier social environment. Their action was a very clear and obvious show of support which culminated in them presenting Craig and Kirsten with and award in recognition of the wonderful work they've done over the years. The expressions of sadness and support from swimmers and parents alike were plentiful and heartfelt. Their actions and words are hardly an endorsement of comments made in earlier posts......??!!

BBF......despite some very questionable and unethical comments from certain people at the club, support for Craig and Kirsten is growing. Perhaps the assertions made in your post could be a little premature.
As Craig's father, there's a lot I'd like to be able to say in response to yet another unqualified and inaccurate comment by an unnamed representative of Bicester Blue Fins Swimming Club (by the way, isn't it strange that comments representing BBF are always made anonymously..??!!) However, in keeping with Craig's and Kirsten's dignified and considered management of this situation, I'll refrain from publishing my inner thoughts.....for now..!! As the only member of Craig's immediate family allowed to attend last nights BBF awards evening (Craig, Kirsten and other dissenting parents had earlier been told that they would be denied entry), I was delighted to witness the very obvious show of support given to them through the tumultuous ovation given to their daughter as she received her awards. It was very telling. Nonetheless, it was tremendously sad for her that her parents weren't there to share in the celebration of their young daughter's success. Being emotionally involved, perhaps the most pleasing thing for me was to witness the early exit from last night's event of a very significant number of swimmers and their parents in order that they could meet Craig and Kirsten in a friendlier social environment. Their action was a very clear and obvious show of support which culminated in them presenting Craig and Kirsten with and award in recognition of the wonderful work they've done over the years. The expressions of sadness and support from swimmers and parents alike were plentiful and heartfelt. Their actions and words are hardly an endorsement of comments made in earlier posts......??!! BBF......despite some very questionable and unethical comments from certain people at the club, support for Craig and Kirsten is growing. Perhaps the assertions made in your post could be a little premature. spursroy
  • Score: -46

8:27pm Sun 26 Jan 14

spursroy says...

A Carter wrote:
My mate swims there and says he is glad they left. much better atmosphere now apparently
Really....see my post below.
[quote][p][bold]A Carter[/bold] wrote: My mate swims there and says he is glad they left. much better atmosphere now apparently[/p][/quote]Really....see my post below. spursroy
  • Score: -45

9:07pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Dreamliner says...

Wow, the handbags are out at Bicester Blue Fins!

According to the Club, the Pankhursts weren't employees. The Pankhursts believe they were. Let it run it's course. The Employment Tribunal process will out the truth.

The Club says the Pankhursts are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract being terminated. The Pankhursts say they were not aware of any issues.
Baffling. Both cannot be true.
Have the Pankhursts not enjoyed full support of the Club throughout their employment (sic)?

Pretty uncool for the Pankhursts to organise an alternative social event on the very same evening as the Swimming Club's awards evening.

Craig's father attributes the tumultuous ovation given to their daughter, as she received her awards, to a very obvious show of support for the Pankhursts. Wouldn't it be wonderful to simply consider any ovation given to have been in recognition of the swimming achievements of a young girl, who appears to be caught up in the middle of all that's currently going on at Bicester Blue Fins?
Wow, the handbags are out at Bicester Blue Fins! According to the Club, the Pankhursts weren't employees. The Pankhursts believe they were. Let it run it's course. The Employment Tribunal process will out the truth. The Club says the Pankhursts are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract being terminated. The Pankhursts say they were not aware of any issues. Baffling. Both cannot be true. Have the Pankhursts not enjoyed full support of the Club throughout their employment (sic)? Pretty uncool for the Pankhursts to organise an alternative social event on the very same evening as the Swimming Club's awards evening. Craig's father attributes the tumultuous ovation given to their daughter, as she received her awards, to a very obvious show of support for the Pankhursts. Wouldn't it be wonderful to simply consider any ovation given to have been in recognition of the swimming achievements of a young girl, who appears to be caught up in the middle of all that's currently going on at Bicester Blue Fins? Dreamliner
  • Score: 52

9:36pm Sun 26 Jan 14

spursroy says...

I wonder who didn't like my comments. Any guesses..?
I wonder who didn't like my comments. Any guesses..? spursroy
  • Score: -49

10:23pm Sun 26 Jan 14

spursroy says...

Dreamliner wrote:
Wow, the handbags are out at Bicester Blue Fins!

According to the Club, the Pankhursts weren't employees. The Pankhursts believe they were. Let it run it's course. The Employment Tribunal process will out the truth.

The Club says the Pankhursts are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract being terminated. The Pankhursts say they were not aware of any issues.
Baffling. Both cannot be true.
Have the Pankhursts not enjoyed full support of the Club throughout their employment (sic)?

Pretty uncool for the Pankhursts to organise an alternative social event on the very same evening as the Swimming Club's awards evening.

Craig's father attributes the tumultuous ovation given to their daughter, as she received her awards, to a very obvious show of support for the Pankhursts. Wouldn't it be wonderful to simply consider any ovation given to have been in recognition of the swimming achievements of a young girl, who appears to be caught up in the middle of all that's currently going on at Bicester Blue Fins?
Dreamliner (in other words, anonymous.......agai
n), this may be amusing to you but it's no joke for us. We don't seek sympathy but we do want justice and the right for others to be able to speak out without the threat of reprisals. I just wish you and others like you could understand the stress and anxiety this situation has caused to so many people in and around my family. If you did, you'd think twice before getting involved in something you obviously have no knowledge of. Certainly, you have absolutely no idea about events leading to our post-award ceremony celebrations. So take my advice......until you have something worthwhile to say, keep your assumptions to yourself.
[quote][p][bold]Dreamliner[/bold] wrote: Wow, the handbags are out at Bicester Blue Fins! According to the Club, the Pankhursts weren't employees. The Pankhursts believe they were. Let it run it's course. The Employment Tribunal process will out the truth. The Club says the Pankhursts are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract being terminated. The Pankhursts say they were not aware of any issues. Baffling. Both cannot be true. Have the Pankhursts not enjoyed full support of the Club throughout their employment (sic)? Pretty uncool for the Pankhursts to organise an alternative social event on the very same evening as the Swimming Club's awards evening. Craig's father attributes the tumultuous ovation given to their daughter, as she received her awards, to a very obvious show of support for the Pankhursts. Wouldn't it be wonderful to simply consider any ovation given to have been in recognition of the swimming achievements of a young girl, who appears to be caught up in the middle of all that's currently going on at Bicester Blue Fins?[/p][/quote]Dreamliner (in other words, anonymous.......agai n), this may be amusing to you but it's no joke for us. We don't seek sympathy but we do want justice and the right for others to be able to speak out without the threat of reprisals. I just wish you and others like you could understand the stress and anxiety this situation has caused to so many people in and around my family. If you did, you'd think twice before getting involved in something you obviously have no knowledge of. Certainly, you have absolutely no idea about events leading to our post-award ceremony celebrations. So take my advice......until you have something worthwhile to say, keep your assumptions to yourself. spursroy
  • Score: -36

8:26am Mon 27 Jan 14

A Carter says...

anonymous again wrote:
I wonder if A Carter's mate swims with the "masters"? Hmmm
Yes...so?

This is getting to nasty for my liking. I suggest you just let the lawyers sort it out and stop hurling insults on here
[quote][p][bold]anonymous again[/bold] wrote: I wonder if A Carter's mate swims with the "masters"? Hmmm[/p][/quote]Yes...so? This is getting to nasty for my liking. I suggest you just let the lawyers sort it out and stop hurling insults on here A Carter
  • Score: 43

1:09pm Mon 27 Jan 14

bicesterbluefan says...

Bicester Blue Fins wrote:
Anyone reading this story would get the totally wrong impression as to what happened. The Pankhursts we're not employed directly by Bicester Blue Fins, so there won't be an employment tribunal - and to suggest their company was just a logo on an invoice simply untrue. In addition, they are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract their company had with the club being terminated - which was terminated in accordance with the terms of that contract.

We can't give any more detail but their unfortunate media campaign is not based on the facts of what happened and to say they want answers is also not true - they appear to just want publicity.

This unfortunate affair should not detract from the amazing success the club is experiencing at local, regional and national level. We have a new head coach and ten new swimmers have joined or returned as a result - including one hoping to trial for the Commonwealth Games. Indeed, all the club's swimmers are excited about the future.
Maybe if people took the time to listen to both sides they could then make up their own minds.
[quote][p][bold]Bicester Blue Fins[/bold] wrote: Anyone reading this story would get the totally wrong impression as to what happened. The Pankhursts we're not employed directly by Bicester Blue Fins, so there won't be an employment tribunal - and to suggest their company was just a logo on an invoice simply untrue. In addition, they are perfectly aware as to what they did over an extended period of time that led to the contract their company had with the club being terminated - which was terminated in accordance with the terms of that contract. We can't give any more detail but their unfortunate media campaign is not based on the facts of what happened and to say they want answers is also not true - they appear to just want publicity. This unfortunate affair should not detract from the amazing success the club is experiencing at local, regional and national level. We have a new head coach and ten new swimmers have joined or returned as a result - including one hoping to trial for the Commonwealth Games. Indeed, all the club's swimmers are excited about the future.[/p][/quote]Maybe if people took the time to listen to both sides they could then make up their own minds. bicesterbluefan
  • Score: -36

2:04pm Mon 27 Jan 14

spursroy says...

I used to be chief coach at Blue Fins. It was me that suggested the name and I have a lot of good memories from my years at the club. However, I can't stand by and allow the insinuations to go on without defending my son and daughter-in-law who, for legal reasons, are sensibly refusing to get involved in online comment.

Despite whispers to the contrary, they have never been given reasons for their dismissal and on several occasions have had their offer of 'across the table' dialogue thrown back in their faces.

The behaviour of the committee has been a disgrace throughout. It seems to me that there are those within who simply fail to understand that their full-time work behaviours & attitudes are not appropriate when performing their duties within this a small swimming club. In the words of one parent, they are destroying what had been a very happy club and sadly, I fully expect the consequences to be a drop in performance levels, a drop in rankings and more swimmers following those who've already chosen to leave as a result of this situation. I may be wrong but we'll see.

Just remember who has guided the club and it's swimmers to heights which have never before been achieved. It certainly wasn't this committee. It was Craig and Kirsten with their years of international experience, boundless energy and knowledge, together with their team of teachers, coaches and helpers (who all provided unbelievable commitment) who put the club where it now stands. And to think that Craig and Kirsten weren't mentioned at last Saturday's awards evening. Disgraceful but fully expected.

I realise that this post will spark yet another rebuke. However, I think the more intelligent amongst the readers can already see what's happening.......as soon as I post my thoughts, there is a immediate string of 'thumbs down' responses. Frankly, it's no more than I and many others have come to expect.
I used to be chief coach at Blue Fins. It was me that suggested the name and I have a lot of good memories from my years at the club. However, I can't stand by and allow the insinuations to go on without defending my son and daughter-in-law who, for legal reasons, are sensibly refusing to get involved in online comment. Despite whispers to the contrary, they have never been given reasons for their dismissal and on several occasions have had their offer of 'across the table' dialogue thrown back in their faces. The behaviour of the committee has been a disgrace throughout. It seems to me that there are those within who simply fail to understand that their full-time work behaviours & attitudes are not appropriate when performing their duties within this a small swimming club. In the words of one parent, they are destroying what had been a very happy club and sadly, I fully expect the consequences to be a drop in performance levels, a drop in rankings and more swimmers following those who've already chosen to leave as a result of this situation. I may be wrong but we'll see. Just remember who has guided the club and it's swimmers to heights which have never before been achieved. It certainly wasn't this committee. It was Craig and Kirsten with their years of international experience, boundless energy and knowledge, together with their team of teachers, coaches and helpers (who all provided unbelievable commitment) who put the club where it now stands. And to think that Craig and Kirsten weren't mentioned at last Saturday's awards evening. Disgraceful but fully expected. I realise that this post will spark yet another rebuke. However, I think the more intelligent amongst the readers can already see what's happening.......as soon as I post my thoughts, there is a immediate string of 'thumbs down' responses. Frankly, it's no more than I and many others have come to expect. spursroy
  • Score: -22

9:08pm Mon 27 Jan 14

anonymous345 says...

It may be a better atmosphere from the masters point of view, because they wanted them out in the first place, after they took away master's pool time and gave to the younger swimmers, who are after all the future of Bicester Blue Fins.
They club has also lost 3 swimmers, which leaves only one swimmer in the open ladies category for Arena League, which we were promoted to Division 1 for tho season, all thanks to the hard the work and commitment put in by Craig and Kirsten, which has been completely disregarded. I am also pretty sure that the 10 swimmers who are joining BBF would not do so if the club was in the position it was in before Craig and Kirsten took over.
I now left the club as I felt the committee had completely lost sight of the swimming and I did not want to be part of a club that was not about the swimming and felt that it was okay to get rid of the best head coaches the club has had for many years at a crucial time of the season and with hours notice. And a club also that calls swimmers that leave 'traitors', because they simply wish to carry on Craig and Kirsten's hard work and do not feel that can be achieved at BBF Committee Club.
It may be a better atmosphere from the masters point of view, because they wanted them out in the first place, after they took away master's pool time and gave to the younger swimmers, who are after all the future of Bicester Blue Fins. They club has also lost 3 swimmers, which leaves only one swimmer in the open ladies category for Arena League, which we were promoted to Division 1 for tho season, all thanks to the hard the work and commitment put in by Craig and Kirsten, which has been completely disregarded. I am also pretty sure that the 10 swimmers who are joining BBF would not do so if the club was in the position it was in before Craig and Kirsten took over. I now left the club as I felt the committee had completely lost sight of the swimming and I did not want to be part of a club that was not about the swimming and felt that it was okay to get rid of the best head coaches the club has had for many years at a crucial time of the season and with hours notice. And a club also that calls swimmers that leave 'traitors', because they simply wish to carry on Craig and Kirsten's hard work and do not feel that can be achieved at BBF Committee Club. anonymous345
  • Score: -8

9:39pm Mon 27 Jan 14

spursroy says...

anonymous345 wrote:
It may be a better atmosphere from the masters point of view, because they wanted them out in the first place, after they took away master's pool time and gave to the younger swimmers, who are after all the future of Bicester Blue Fins.
They club has also lost 3 swimmers, which leaves only one swimmer in the open ladies category for Arena League, which we were promoted to Division 1 for tho season, all thanks to the hard the work and commitment put in by Craig and Kirsten, which has been completely disregarded. I am also pretty sure that the 10 swimmers who are joining BBF would not do so if the club was in the position it was in before Craig and Kirsten took over.
I now left the club as I felt the committee had completely lost sight of the swimming and I did not want to be part of a club that was not about the swimming and felt that it was okay to get rid of the best head coaches the club has had for many years at a crucial time of the season and with hours notice. And a club also that calls swimmers that leave 'traitors', because they simply wish to carry on Craig and Kirsten's hard work and do not feel that can be achieved at BBF Committee Club.
Your detachment from BBF has no doubt freed you from the pressures that have been put on others to keep quiet. At last, others can get a sense of what is really happening and why. Whoever you are, thanks for your voice, your honesty and your support. It's very much appreciated.
[quote][p][bold]anonymous345[/bold] wrote: It may be a better atmosphere from the masters point of view, because they wanted them out in the first place, after they took away master's pool time and gave to the younger swimmers, who are after all the future of Bicester Blue Fins. They club has also lost 3 swimmers, which leaves only one swimmer in the open ladies category for Arena League, which we were promoted to Division 1 for tho season, all thanks to the hard the work and commitment put in by Craig and Kirsten, which has been completely disregarded. I am also pretty sure that the 10 swimmers who are joining BBF would not do so if the club was in the position it was in before Craig and Kirsten took over. I now left the club as I felt the committee had completely lost sight of the swimming and I did not want to be part of a club that was not about the swimming and felt that it was okay to get rid of the best head coaches the club has had for many years at a crucial time of the season and with hours notice. And a club also that calls swimmers that leave 'traitors', because they simply wish to carry on Craig and Kirsten's hard work and do not feel that can be achieved at BBF Committee Club.[/p][/quote]Your detachment from BBF has no doubt freed you from the pressures that have been put on others to keep quiet. At last, others can get a sense of what is really happening and why. Whoever you are, thanks for your voice, your honesty and your support. It's very much appreciated. spursroy
  • Score: -14

2:08pm Fri 31 Jan 14

swimmingmaster says...

After mulling it over for the past few days, and after the events that took place poolside a few days ago, I want to put my perspective of things forward.

To start, I am a current registered Masters swimmer at BBF.

I feel extremely sad reading and witnessing what is happening within the club at the moment. I will try and offer a balanced perspective of the situation, although I am definitely not basing this on ALL the facts, as I have not heard the situation in its entirety.

To start, it cannot be denied that the club has improved significantly over recent years. Whilst I am slightly removed from the main competitive side of the club, it is very clear that the performance of the club has increased. This is objective, and not subjective. I have seen the results, and have seen the numbers of children (and Masters) in the club grow. Surely, that is a great thing? I believe that 2013 was the best season in the club's history.

It has to be said, that in the main, this has to be down to the Head Coaches? Yes, they are supported by the Committee, but it is the coaches (all of them) that have spent the time with the swimmers. Even us as a Masters group have improved significantly since we have been coached. Therefore, I would have thought it fitting to congratulate Craig and Kirsten on what they have achieved?

I have heard a lot of 'rumours' from people, including Committee members, in the club since Craig and Kirsten have left. I tend to let these go in one ear and out the other as I am sure that they are not all based on facts. I am not sure whether Craig and Kirsten have been able to respond to the rumours, I have also heard that the meeting in which they were sacked, they were not present? I would have thought it is their right to have their say or at least be heard?

Last summer, The Masters, met with Craig and Kirsten. As a group, we were annoyed and felt sidelined by the communication that in the new club structure, the Masters hours would be reduced in favour for the younger swimmers in the club. Not only were our hours reduced, the proposal was mainly for morning training. The meeting was heated, with some Masters going over the top with their point of view. Craig and Kirsten were asked to go away and consider the pool time again. To be fair, they did do this, and the Masters agreed to the compromise. I know that this caused a lot of bad feeling. I also am balanced enough to know that as Head Coaches, their priority has to be with the younger swimmers, so I am not going to criticise that too much. Thankfully, through a team of dedicated Masters, we have more pool time and that has benefited us all.

I don't know the exact reasons for Craig and Kirsten's departure, but am sure they are not after publicity! Afterall, if they didn't believe they had a case, why would they be fighting for their rights?

I have to say that the atmosphere at the club is definitely not better now. I think the incident which occurred a few days ago would sum that up! That kind of behaviour is not welcome, and coming from a committee member, I am very disappointed. So many witnesses to it as well, including young swimmers.

Fingers crossed that this does not break the club. I hope the club is acting in the best interest of its members. After all, it is the members that the club is here for!
After mulling it over for the past few days, and after the events that took place poolside a few days ago, I want to put my perspective of things forward. To start, I am a current registered Masters swimmer at BBF. I feel extremely sad reading and witnessing what is happening within the club at the moment. I will try and offer a balanced perspective of the situation, although I am definitely not basing this on ALL the facts, as I have not heard the situation in its entirety. To start, it cannot be denied that the club has improved significantly over recent years. Whilst I am slightly removed from the main competitive side of the club, it is very clear that the performance of the club has increased. This is objective, and not subjective. I have seen the results, and have seen the numbers of children (and Masters) in the club grow. Surely, that is a great thing? I believe that 2013 was the best season in the club's history. It has to be said, that in the main, this has to be down to the Head Coaches? Yes, they are supported by the Committee, but it is the coaches (all of them) that have spent the time with the swimmers. Even us as a Masters group have improved significantly since we have been coached. Therefore, I would have thought it fitting to congratulate Craig and Kirsten on what they have achieved? I have heard a lot of 'rumours' from people, including Committee members, in the club since Craig and Kirsten have left. I tend to let these go in one ear and out the other as I am sure that they are not all based on facts. I am not sure whether Craig and Kirsten have been able to respond to the rumours, I have also heard that the meeting in which they were sacked, they were not present? I would have thought it is their right to have their say or at least be heard? Last summer, The Masters, met with Craig and Kirsten. As a group, we were annoyed and felt sidelined by the communication that in the new club structure, the Masters hours would be reduced in favour for the younger swimmers in the club. Not only were our hours reduced, the proposal was mainly for morning training. The meeting was heated, with some Masters going over the top with their point of view. Craig and Kirsten were asked to go away and consider the pool time again. To be fair, they did do this, and the Masters agreed to the compromise. I know that this caused a lot of bad feeling. I also am balanced enough to know that as Head Coaches, their priority has to be with the younger swimmers, so I am not going to criticise that too much. Thankfully, through a team of dedicated Masters, we have more pool time and that has benefited us all. I don't know the exact reasons for Craig and Kirsten's departure, but am sure they are not after publicity! Afterall, if they didn't believe they had a case, why would they be fighting for their rights? I have to say that the atmosphere at the club is definitely not better now. I think the incident which occurred a few days ago would sum that up! That kind of behaviour is not welcome, and coming from a committee member, I am very disappointed. So many witnesses to it as well, including young swimmers. Fingers crossed that this does not break the club. I hope the club is acting in the best interest of its members. After all, it is the members that the club is here for! swimmingmaster
  • Score: -4

3:57pm Fri 31 Jan 14

BBF Parent says...

Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.
Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough. BBF Parent
  • Score: 6

6:14pm Fri 31 Jan 14

bicesterbluefan says...

swimmingmaster wrote:
After mulling it over for the past few days, and after the events that took place poolside a few days ago, I want to put my perspective of things forward.

To start, I am a current registered Masters swimmer at BBF.

I feel extremely sad reading and witnessing what is happening within the club at the moment. I will try and offer a balanced perspective of the situation, although I am definitely not basing this on ALL the facts, as I have not heard the situation in its entirety.

To start, it cannot be denied that the club has improved significantly over recent years. Whilst I am slightly removed from the main competitive side of the club, it is very clear that the performance of the club has increased. This is objective, and not subjective. I have seen the results, and have seen the numbers of children (and Masters) in the club grow. Surely, that is a great thing? I believe that 2013 was the best season in the club's history.

It has to be said, that in the main, this has to be down to the Head Coaches? Yes, they are supported by the Committee, but it is the coaches (all of them) that have spent the time with the swimmers. Even us as a Masters group have improved significantly since we have been coached. Therefore, I would have thought it fitting to congratulate Craig and Kirsten on what they have achieved?

I have heard a lot of 'rumours' from people, including Committee members, in the club since Craig and Kirsten have left. I tend to let these go in one ear and out the other as I am sure that they are not all based on facts. I am not sure whether Craig and Kirsten have been able to respond to the rumours, I have also heard that the meeting in which they were sacked, they were not present? I would have thought it is their right to have their say or at least be heard?

Last summer, The Masters, met with Craig and Kirsten. As a group, we were annoyed and felt sidelined by the communication that in the new club structure, the Masters hours would be reduced in favour for the younger swimmers in the club. Not only were our hours reduced, the proposal was mainly for morning training. The meeting was heated, with some Masters going over the top with their point of view. Craig and Kirsten were asked to go away and consider the pool time again. To be fair, they did do this, and the Masters agreed to the compromise. I know that this caused a lot of bad feeling. I also am balanced enough to know that as Head Coaches, their priority has to be with the younger swimmers, so I am not going to criticise that too much. Thankfully, through a team of dedicated Masters, we have more pool time and that has benefited us all.

I don't know the exact reasons for Craig and Kirsten's departure, but am sure they are not after publicity! Afterall, if they didn't believe they had a case, why would they be fighting for their rights?

I have to say that the atmosphere at the club is definitely not better now. I think the incident which occurred a few days ago would sum that up! That kind of behaviour is not welcome, and coming from a committee member, I am very disappointed. So many witnesses to it as well, including young swimmers.

Fingers crossed that this does not break the club. I hope the club is acting in the best interest of its members. After all, it is the members that the club is here for!
At last someone speaks some sense and truth! Thank you whoever you are.
[quote][p][bold]swimmingmaster[/bold] wrote: After mulling it over for the past few days, and after the events that took place poolside a few days ago, I want to put my perspective of things forward. To start, I am a current registered Masters swimmer at BBF. I feel extremely sad reading and witnessing what is happening within the club at the moment. I will try and offer a balanced perspective of the situation, although I am definitely not basing this on ALL the facts, as I have not heard the situation in its entirety. To start, it cannot be denied that the club has improved significantly over recent years. Whilst I am slightly removed from the main competitive side of the club, it is very clear that the performance of the club has increased. This is objective, and not subjective. I have seen the results, and have seen the numbers of children (and Masters) in the club grow. Surely, that is a great thing? I believe that 2013 was the best season in the club's history. It has to be said, that in the main, this has to be down to the Head Coaches? Yes, they are supported by the Committee, but it is the coaches (all of them) that have spent the time with the swimmers. Even us as a Masters group have improved significantly since we have been coached. Therefore, I would have thought it fitting to congratulate Craig and Kirsten on what they have achieved? I have heard a lot of 'rumours' from people, including Committee members, in the club since Craig and Kirsten have left. I tend to let these go in one ear and out the other as I am sure that they are not all based on facts. I am not sure whether Craig and Kirsten have been able to respond to the rumours, I have also heard that the meeting in which they were sacked, they were not present? I would have thought it is their right to have their say or at least be heard? Last summer, The Masters, met with Craig and Kirsten. As a group, we were annoyed and felt sidelined by the communication that in the new club structure, the Masters hours would be reduced in favour for the younger swimmers in the club. Not only were our hours reduced, the proposal was mainly for morning training. The meeting was heated, with some Masters going over the top with their point of view. Craig and Kirsten were asked to go away and consider the pool time again. To be fair, they did do this, and the Masters agreed to the compromise. I know that this caused a lot of bad feeling. I also am balanced enough to know that as Head Coaches, their priority has to be with the younger swimmers, so I am not going to criticise that too much. Thankfully, through a team of dedicated Masters, we have more pool time and that has benefited us all. I don't know the exact reasons for Craig and Kirsten's departure, but am sure they are not after publicity! Afterall, if they didn't believe they had a case, why would they be fighting for their rights? I have to say that the atmosphere at the club is definitely not better now. I think the incident which occurred a few days ago would sum that up! That kind of behaviour is not welcome, and coming from a committee member, I am very disappointed. So many witnesses to it as well, including young swimmers. Fingers crossed that this does not break the club. I hope the club is acting in the best interest of its members. After all, it is the members that the club is here for![/p][/quote]At last someone speaks some sense and truth! Thank you whoever you are. bicesterbluefan
  • Score: -14

8:42pm Fri 31 Jan 14

BBF Parent says...

Again, WHAT IS the truth!!! LET THE LEGAL SYSTEM SORT IT OUT, THEN WE WILL KNOW.
Again, WHAT IS the truth!!! LET THE LEGAL SYSTEM SORT IT OUT, THEN WE WILL KNOW. BBF Parent
  • Score: 2

11:06pm Fri 31 Jan 14

spursroy says...

BBF Parent wrote:
Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.
Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me.

That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviour". Just remember how dignified Craig and Kirsten have been throughout. It's a pity that others haven't followed their example.
[quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me. That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviour". Just remember how dignified Craig and Kirsten have been throughout. It's a pity that others haven't followed their example. spursroy
  • Score: -8

11:47am Sat 1 Feb 14

BBF Parent says...

spursroy wrote:
BBF Parent wrote:
Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.
Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me.

That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviour". Just remember how dignified Craig and Kirsten have been throughout. It's a pity that others haven't followed their example.
I view the posts, as I am concerned what my child is being told by other swimmers who have been reading these posts. As a parent it is my job to make sure my child is looked after, so no contradiction. Leading to my point, that the kids need to left out of this, as they are being dragged in. An example, would be for the adult stuff to be handled by the adults! I think we all need to look at what part we are playing in this saga, I understand you want to stand up for your child, but Craig is an adult, my child is a minor.
[quote][p][bold]spursroy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me. That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviour". Just remember how dignified Craig and Kirsten have been throughout. It's a pity that others haven't followed their example.[/p][/quote]I view the posts, as I am concerned what my child is being told by other swimmers who have been reading these posts. As a parent it is my job to make sure my child is looked after, so no contradiction. Leading to my point, that the kids need to left out of this, as they are being dragged in. An example, would be for the adult stuff to be handled by the adults! I think we all need to look at what part we are playing in this saga, I understand you want to stand up for your child, but Craig is an adult, my child is a minor. BBF Parent
  • Score: 22

3:46pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Bicester ASC says...

BBF Parent wrote:
spursroy wrote:
BBF Parent wrote:
Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me.

That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviourNeither the parents or the swimmers were given an opinion on what happened. The club is noticeably suffered with the loss of Kirsten and Craig.
[quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]spursroy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me. That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviourNeither the parents or the swimmers were given an opinion on what happened. The club is noticeably suffered with the loss of Kirsten and Craig. Bicester ASC
  • Score: -14

3:47pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Bicester ASC says...

BBF Parent wrote:
spursroy wrote:
BBF Parent wrote:
Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me.

That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviourNeither the parents or the swimmers were given an opinion on what happened. The club is noticeably suffered with the loss of Kirsten and Craig.
[quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]spursroy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me. That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviourNeither the parents or the swimmers were given an opinion on what happened. The club is noticeably suffered with the loss of Kirsten and Craig. Bicester ASC
  • Score: -12

3:55pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Bicester ASC says...

I have known Kirsten Pankhurst in a professional capacity for 5 years. She has been my Children's Coach for the past several years.
Kirsten and Craig are organized, efficient, extremely competent, dedicated and most importantly supportive and have an excellent rapport with the children of all ages. There communication skills, are excellent. We feel our children would not have achieved what they have, had it not been for there coaches.
BBF have stated that members would not notice a difference however the atmosphere is now horrendous. A lot of the parents are now reduced to whispering opinions as they are to intimidated to ask questions as it appears to be frowned upon, they feel increasingly unable to challenge the committee or speak up ... as they fear retribution from the club. In conclusion the Session's, Children and the Club are already suffering at the loss of Kirsten and Craig.
I have known Kirsten Pankhurst in a professional capacity for 5 years. She has been my Children's Coach for the past several years. Kirsten and Craig are organized, efficient, extremely competent, dedicated and most importantly supportive and have an excellent rapport with the children of all ages. There communication skills, are excellent. We feel our children would not have achieved what they have, had it not been for there coaches. BBF have stated that members would not notice a difference however the atmosphere is now horrendous. A lot of the parents are now reduced to whispering opinions as they are to intimidated to ask questions as it appears to be frowned upon, they feel increasingly unable to challenge the committee or speak up ... as they fear retribution from the club. In conclusion the Session's, Children and the Club are already suffering at the loss of Kirsten and Craig. Bicester ASC
  • Score: 0

4:33pm Sat 1 Feb 14

spursroy says...

BBF Parent wrote:
spursroy wrote:
BBF Parent wrote:
Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.
Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me.

That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviour". Just remember how dignified Craig and Kirsten have been throughout. It's a pity that others haven't followed their example.
I view the posts, as I am concerned what my child is being told by other swimmers who have been reading these posts. As a parent it is my job to make sure my child is looked after, so no contradiction. Leading to my point, that the kids need to left out of this, as they are being dragged in. An example, would be for the adult stuff to be handled by the adults! I think we all need to look at what part we are playing in this saga, I understand you want to stand up for your child, but Craig is an adult, my child is a minor.
Please believe that I completely understand your concern. I also understand your point that Craig is an adult and not a child. However, as many others at BBF have witnessed, his and Kirsten's reputations have been put at risk through innuendo, insinuations and outright lies from people who you, as a parent, should be able to trust. Threats and bullying have also been a tactic used.

As I've said in the past, Craig and Kirsten have remained dignified and courteous throughout this sad affair. Because they are leaving it to the legal process to make their point, they've very admirably kept their council. Consequently and because the BBF posts have been at best misleading, I felt it necessary to add some balance to this sorry story.

What pleases me is that through this site, we're all now seeing growing support for my son and daughter-in-law. I'm very grateful for that and now I'm no longer a lone voice, I'll 'stand aside' and hope that this momentum continues.

Finally, if my comments have caused concern to the 'innocent', I truly apologise. To those whose vindictive nature has caused Craig and Kirsten so much hurt and pain, I wonder what your motives are in bringing such disrepute to a great sport and a great club. Like BBF parent, I'm concerned for the children under your control.
[quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]spursroy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BBF Parent[/bold] wrote: Well! we can all go round & round in circles, hurling abuse across the net. As a parent at BBF, I am amazed by the onslaught in the press and what is this achieving! Do us all a favour and if you have a legal stance, then take it. I am sick to the back teeth of this childish and unprofessional behaviour, making threats in the press of what you are going to do! Why don't you get on with the adult stuff with the adults, the kids deserve to be left out of this now. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]Can I ask a simple question? If you are so sick of this, why are you checking the posts and/or registered to receive them..? It all seems a bit of a contradiction to me. That said, I understand some of your points but ask yourself who is responsible for the "childish behaviour". Just remember how dignified Craig and Kirsten have been throughout. It's a pity that others haven't followed their example.[/p][/quote]I view the posts, as I am concerned what my child is being told by other swimmers who have been reading these posts. As a parent it is my job to make sure my child is looked after, so no contradiction. Leading to my point, that the kids need to left out of this, as they are being dragged in. An example, would be for the adult stuff to be handled by the adults! I think we all need to look at what part we are playing in this saga, I understand you want to stand up for your child, but Craig is an adult, my child is a minor.[/p][/quote]Please believe that I completely understand your concern. I also understand your point that Craig is an adult and not a child. However, as many others at BBF have witnessed, his and Kirsten's reputations have been put at risk through innuendo, insinuations and outright lies from people who you, as a parent, should be able to trust. Threats and bullying have also been a tactic used. As I've said in the past, Craig and Kirsten have remained dignified and courteous throughout this sad affair. Because they are leaving it to the legal process to make their point, they've very admirably kept their council. Consequently and because the BBF posts have been at best misleading, I felt it necessary to add some balance to this sorry story. What pleases me is that through this site, we're all now seeing growing support for my son and daughter-in-law. I'm very grateful for that and now I'm no longer a lone voice, I'll 'stand aside' and hope that this momentum continues. Finally, if my comments have caused concern to the 'innocent', I truly apologise. To those whose vindictive nature has caused Craig and Kirsten so much hurt and pain, I wonder what your motives are in bringing such disrepute to a great sport and a great club. Like BBF parent, I'm concerned for the children under your control. spursroy
  • Score: -16

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