By LAWRENCE MACHADO
Margaret Mills, who helped found the thriving Riverstone Dolphins RSL Youth Swimming Club, is being mourned as a person whose wonderful legacy will live on.
Margaret, who died aged 79 on August 13, leaves behind not only a highly-reputed organisation but thousands of locals whose love for swimming started at this club.
Margaret and her husband Alwyn were the driving force when the Dolphins started in 1994 and she served as treasurer for 20 unbroken years. Alwyn paid for the first payments to get the club off the ground.
The club she helped establish is now one of the most successful development swimming associations in western Sydney and continues to be the first port of call when children want to learn swimming.
“There will never be another Margaret Mills,” Dolphins secretary Denise Kegg told Hills to Hawkesbury Community News. “Margaret was a beautiful lady with a beautiful soul and a very special lady who not only gave to the club but to the whole of the Riverstone community.
“She was involved with the historical society and other groups, including the primary school her son attended. When she died, a lot of (local) history died with her.
“Everyone in Riverstone knew her and loved her.” Mrs Kegg said Margaret was an amazing treasurer who really knew her books and ensured the club was always on a strong footing. Margaret was the club’s treasurer from 1994 to 2014 and remarkably attended every Thursday club race night except one when her husband died.
In 2017, Margaret received the coveted Russell Magennis Award, presented by Riverstone Sports Council in addition to other accolades through the years. The club now has the Margaret Mills Award for those who volunteer their time unselfishly as she did.
Before she started the Dolphins, Margaret was treasurer of Riverstone Swimming Club. Despite scepticism from some quarters that Riverstone could not sustain two swimming clubs, the Dolphins was launched with 25 members and by the time the club was officially opened in October 1994, there were 220 members. When Margaret left the committee, the Dolphins were among the largest swimming clubs in Blacktown LGA and most financially stable.
The free learn-to-swim classes offered by the Dolphins proved a tremendous success from day one, attracting more than 70 children and has contributed to hundreds of locals being regular swimmers. Members can recall Margaret ticking off names of the 120 plus children who benefited from this program weekly.
Margaret is also remembered as someone who lobbied Blacktown Council for many improvements to the Riverstone Swimming pool, including new seating and shelter, heating and pool covers, new lane ropes and a clubhouse. She is survived by her son Paul.