St Albans swimming teacher Vic Levitt dies at 91

PUBLISHED: 14:30 12 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

Vic Levitt

Vic Levitt

GENERATIONS of children learned to swim under the expert tuition of Victor Levitt, who has died aged 91. Mr Levitt, known as Vic, died at Tara s Retreat in Sandridge where he had moved from his home in Fontmell Close, St Albans, in 2007. Born in the Londo

GENERATIONS of children learned to swim under the expert tuition of Victor Levitt, who has died aged 91.

Mr Levitt, known as Vic, died at Tara's Retreat in Sandridge where he had moved from his home in Fontmell Close, St Albans, in 2007.

Born in the London Hospital in 1917, he was politically active in his teens and joined the Communist Party. He took part in anti-fascist demonstrations and was, with his wife Joclyn, at the Cable Street Riots in 1934.

Vic and Joclyn married four days after World War II was declared and he joined the RAF three days later in September 1939. He passed a series of tests to become a pilot but was repeatedly thwarted by his activist history until the issue was raised in Parliament.

He qualified at RAF Cranwell - being prevented from training in Canada or South Africa because of his pre-war politics - and ended the war as an instructor there.

After the war Vic qualified as a teacher but as a passionate swimmer and born organiser, he persuaded Edmonton Council to create a post of swimming teacher for all schools in the borough.

During those years thousands of schoolchildren passed through his hands and he went on to create the Edmonton Swimming Club and free summer holiday Learn to Swim campaigns for the public.

In 1970 Vic was appointed Herts county advisory teacher for swimming and moved from Enfield to St Albans.

Failing eyesight led to his retirement from the post in 1977 - probably exacerbated by high altitude flying during the war - but he and Joclyn, who pre-deceased him, were involved in many activities in St Albans.

They were members of the St Albans Architectural and Archaeological Society and the Herts Footpaths Society while Vic was a member of St Albans Probus and the Herts RAF Aircrew Association.

When he was over 84 years of age, although he was registered blind, he researched and dictated his autobiography entitled Time to Call 'Halt'!

He leaves two daughters, Freya and Vicki, a son Greg, eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. His funeral was held on Monday.


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