Stonehaven was the setting at the weekend of a poignant meeting as Commonwealth medallist Hannah Miley paid a visit to the town.
Hannah, who is fresh from a gold meal winning performance in the 400m medley at the Games in Glasgow this summer, visited Stonehaven’s open air pool on Sunday and spent more than two hours chatting with swimmers.
One such gentleman was 85- year-old Ken McKay, a former swimmer and diver himself, who has been visiting the art deco pool since the 1930s, and until recently would holiday in the town every summer with his wife Elenor.
Elenor, who was married to Ken for 60 years, had been due to present swimming medals at the Glasgow games but she died on July 5, aged 81.
As Elenor Gordon, she became Scotland’s greatest female swimmer, winning breaststroke gold at the New Zealand Commonwealth Games in 1950, and double gold at Vancouver in 1954.
She also competed for Great Britain at three Olympics, winning bronze at Helsinki in 1952.
Ken was compelled to write to Hannah after her triumphant performance, to tell her that her win had lifted him “out of the gloom and despair” that he felt in the weeks following his wife’s death.
Touched Hannah said: “It means the world to me that Ken, an 85-year-old at his lowest ebb having just lost his wife of 60 years, would take the time to write me a letter to make me realise what my little swim meant to him at such a sad time in his life.
“He told me that he’d cried tears of joy rather than sadness as he watched me win that gold medal.
“Pretty soon I was the one in floods of tears reading Ken’s beautiful, kind words.”
The two hugged as they met for the first time and began swapping swimming stories.
Ken took special pride in showing off a display of Elenor’s achievements in the cafe at the pool.
This season marks 80 years since it first opened.