Blue plaque for golden girl

The Family of Lucy Morton, Blackpool's Olympic gold medal winner at the 1924 Paris Olympics
The Family of Lucy Morton, Blackpool's Olympic gold medal winner at the 1924 Paris Olympics
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A GOLD medal winning swimmer has been honoured in the town where she touched many lives.

Lucy Morton brought pride and joy to Blackpool when she became the first female winner of the 200m breaststroke at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

As Britain’s first woman Olympic swimming champion, she returned home a heroine to be greeted by a crowd of 10,000 people, and enjoyed a civic reception with the Mayor of Blackpool.

Her success in the pool, which also included a world record in 1916 for the 150 yards backstroke, saw her return home to pass on her knowledge to thousands of children as a swimming teacher.

Lucy’s achievements have now been recognised in the town where she made herself a star, with a blue plaque revealing her success story placed outside Blackpool Town Hall.

Peter Heaton, Lucy’s only son, unveiled the dedication in front of his family, his mother’s pupils and Blackpool Civic Trust, which donated the plaque. He said: “This means a tremendous amount to me.

“And all the effort she put in at the Olympics and teaching Blackpool’s children for more than 30 years means a lot to everyone. She certainly deserves the recognition and I’m very pleased for her.”

Lucy, from Mereland Road, Marton, died in 1980, but was well known throughout the town for the lessons she taught at swimming pools in Blackpool. She coached three swimmers to international level before retiring in 1972 after 42 years of teaching.

Her eldest granddaughter, Julia Routledge, added: “It’s absolutely fantastic.

“It’s something we never expected and to get this recognition in the London Olympic year is brilliant.”

Elaine Smith, chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust, added: “She means a lot to a lot of people in Blackpool.

“The number of people her life touched is amazing and she gave people a great deal of pleasure with her swimming lessons.”

Mary Williams, 65, from South Shore, was one of the many taught to swim by the Olympic champion.

She said: “This is a special moment because I had a great time in her lessons when I was a child.”