Tributes paid to Simon Insole - 'one of the good guys'
7:40am Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known dad, Barry swimming club volunteer and retired policeman, who died after collapsing at Barry Island's Whitmore Bay.
49-year-old father-of-three Simon Insole, a highly respected former Cardiff City and Wales police football liaison officer, was taken to the University Hospital of Wales following his collapse on the beach shortly before 8pm last Thursday (September 6), but he could not be saved.
He had recently been safety and security advisor for Wembley National Stadium during the London 2012 Olympic football tournament, and had joined Cardiff City as deputy safety officer at the stadium.
Barry Amateur Swimming Club chairwoman Heulwen Cooper said it had been with 'great sadness and disbelief' that they had heard the news about Simon, who lived in Wenvoe. "He was a most energetic and agile coach with the club, extremely well-liked and popular," she said.
"Simon's three children, Olivia, Grace and Tom are members of our club.
"A few years ago Simon made a special effort to attend a coaching course in Swansea and has been an invaluable coach with us for about five years. "We will really miss his willing help and presence at our club.
"He worked hard coaching almost all of our swimmers at some point during the last few years," she added.
"We will really miss his genial presence on poolside."
Cardiff City Football Club also offered its sincere condolences to his wife Lisa and children.
A spokesman said: "Well respected and trusted by colleagues and supporters alike during his long association through South Wales Police, Simon, as football liaison officer to Cardiff City, was known to be one of the good guys.
"He was someone who could apply a much needed context, fairness and an understanding of what it means to support a football club when in the line of duty.
"It was this approach that gained Simon an impressive reputation across the UK among his peers, while his open and friendly nature was also very much appreciated and valued amongst Cardiff City supporters.
"Following his recent retirement from SW Police, he took up the offer of joining Cardiff City Football Club as our deputy safety officer.
"His reputation also welcomed a quick summer engagement by LOCOG, Simon taking the role of Safety & Security Advisor for Wembley National Stadium during the London 2012 Olympic football tournament.
"Professionally and personally, Simon will be very much missed."
Online fan forums have been inundated with messages of sympathy, many talking of their great respect for Simon as he helped police fixtures across the country.
And speaking of his close friend and colleague, Cardiff City Stadium manager Wayne Nash said: "Fans loved Simon as he was brought up old school, knew his stuff and was always well prepared.
"His style meant he policed from within after gaining acceptance.
"His family have lost their hero and many of us have lost a much loved and valued colleague. Football has lost a cherished member of its fraternity."
South Wales Police Divisional Commander Chief Supt Alun Thomas said: "Simon Insole spent a decade of his 30-year career as a police constable in the Major Events department in Cardiff as a football intelligence officer, receiving commendations for his bravery, intelligence and commitment during the policing of football events.
"Simon was instrumental in the reduction of disorder associated with football.
"He travelled across the world with Welsh fans and worked particularly closely with Cardiff City Football Club who presented him with a signed shirt on his retirement.
"The applause he received from Cardiff City supporters at that presentation before last season's home game against Bristol City demonstrated the high regard in which Simon was held.
"Our thoughts are with all of Simon 's family, especially his wife and children," he added.
"He will be sadly missed by his former colleagues and many friends at South Wales Police."