Jeanne Barker, 89, is East's BBC Sports Unsung Hero

Jeanne Barker has won the BBC Sports Unsung Hero for the East, in recognition of 60 years of swimming coaching in Cambridge.

Barker, 89, coaches youngsters at Parkside Pool in the city, a facility she fought to establish 49 years ago.

"When I think of swimming in Cambridge I always thing of Jeanne Barker," said former Olympian and fellow Cambridge swimming coach Christine Illman.

BBC Unsung Hero nominees in the East

  • Jeanne Barker - City of Cambridge Swimming Club (Cambridgeshire)
  • Barrie and Corinne Winwood - Braintree Rugby Club (Essex)
  • Phil Ashbourn - Milton Keynes Parks Trust and Cyclist Touring Club (Buckinghamshire)

"She's been tremendous in enthusiasm and dedication over the years."

Barker was born in Cambridge in 1923 and married school friend Ray Barker, an RAF pilot, who introduced her to swimming.

With women not allowed to use the city's only pool at the Leys School, Barker started the girls section of the Granta Swimming Club in 1947 and they would hold sessions in the River Cam.

Five years later she passed her teaching exam and was able to coach, something she continues to do with youngsters at the City of Cambridge Swimming Club (CoCSC).

"I didn't know anything about competitive swimming until I married my husband," she said.

"But I love it. I only do it because I like it. The kids are lovely and I've got so many friends. Even the boys make an awful fuss of me. They tease me to death, but I don't mind.

"There's more money in swimming these days. Very few people do something for nothing these days.

"But we've got lovely parents who help with matches.

"I love it. I still come to every match. I was county chairman for 22 years. They can't get rid of me."

Illman, formerly Christine Jarvis, is president of CoCSC and represented Britain at the Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976 Olympics and won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in breaststroke in 1970.

She added: "Jeanne's probably got a bit of the River Cam in her blood. Her and her husband were very much involved with the Granta Swimming Club and they used to swim in the river then.

"She's been at the forefront in terms of developing swimming in the city."