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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 24 July 2008
Heath swimmers owe much to John Stephenson

• IT is with great regret that I and other members of the Mixed Pond Action Group learned of the death of John Stephenson (left).

He was indefatigable in working to save the swimming pond when under threat from the City of London. John’s great expertise in budgetary matters, his keen intelligence, his inclusiveness and personal kindness will long be remembered. He was highly motivated to preserve every aspect of the Heath for the use and enjoyment of this and future generations.
There was the sense that as long as he was participating no harm would come to these treasured institutions and healthful activities.
Times have changed. The government has recognised the importance of swimming in the overall health of the nation and has at last made it a priority. And we believe the Heath managers have come to appreciate the vitality of the activity, not to mention the uniqueness of the three ponds on the grounds of Hampstead Heath. When the ponds came under fire, John was absolutely staunch in their defence.
Co-leader, Mixed Pond Group

• THERE was nothing noisy or ostentatious about John Stephenson.
Always politely understated, he reminded me of a sharp-minded fictional detective who knew how to blend in with the wallpaper, but through whom the electricity of enquiry was constantly flowing. It would light his face with an impish smile when he discovered in the detail of diligent research, some atom of significance that had eluded the rest of us.
A companionable and civilised man, he and his wife offered the hospitality of their home for meetings of the United Swimmers’ Association upon which I look back with pleasure. John, played a valued and valuable part in ensuring that the swimming ponds of Hampstead Heath remain open. That is more than just a footnote to the history of social life in London and Hampstead Heath. Greatly liked and much valued, he and his ingenuity will be missed.
Chairman United Swimmers’ Association of
Hampstead Heath, N2

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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