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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Leisure industry mourns the death of Steve Franks, CEO of Water Babies

The physical activity sector has been left in shock by news that Steve Franks, the long-serving chief executive of Water Babies, has died following a short illness.

Tributes and condolences have flooded in on social media for Franks, an industry veteran who spent six years as operations director at the Swimming Teachers' Association (STA), before being appointed CEO at Water Babies in 2009.

Franks had been involved in the UK sport and leisure industry in a senior management capacity for more than 25 years, across both private and public sectors. His leisure career began in 1997 as leisure services manager at Lichfield District Council.

During his career, he was a technical author for a number of British Standards – aimed at creating industry best practice for the swimming and aquatics sector – and a member of two All-Party Parliamentary Groups, including one for swimming.

He was also a passionate advocate of children's physical activity, becoming the lead spokesperson for Children First, a national campaign to encourage the government to put children at the heart of all decision-making and to get a dedicated minister for children and young people.

Franks also sat on the ukactive's Kids council as board member.

Tweeting her condolences, Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England, said Franks' death was due to complications related to COVID-19.

"Very sad day today," she said in her tweet. "Good friend has lost the Coronavirus fight. RIP Steve Franks. Your work for baby swimming will live on. I will miss our lunches and catch-ups. Definitely a friend as well as a Swim England colleague."

ukactive Chair Tanni Grey-Thompson and ukactive Kids Council Chair Adrian Packer issued a joint statement, saying "The board and team at ukactive are devastated by the news".

"Our hearts go out to his family and the team at Water Babies," the statement reads.

"His contribution to improving the health of children will always be recognised, as CEO of the hugely successful swim school organisation, or through his leadership as part of the ukactive Kids Council.

“Steve’s passion and energy for changing children’s lives inspired us all. He is a huge loss to our movement, and we will be more determined than ever to deliver his ambition to improve our children’s health.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The physical activity sector has been left in shock by the news that Steve Franks, the long- serving chief executive of Water Babies, has died following a short illness.
SAR,WAT,SWM,HAF,FIT,IND,PTS,PHR,PUB
2020/THUMB345411_378486_541267.jpg
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
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Uniforms
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Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Skincare
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Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

News

Leisure industry mourns the death of Steve Franks, CEO of Water Babies

The physical activity sector has been left in shock by news that Steve Franks, the long-serving chief executive of Water Babies, has died following a short illness.

Tributes and condolences have flooded in on social media for Franks, an industry veteran who spent six years as operations director at the Swimming Teachers' Association (STA), before being appointed CEO at Water Babies in 2009.

Franks had been involved in the UK sport and leisure industry in a senior management capacity for more than 25 years, across both private and public sectors. His leisure career began in 1997 as leisure services manager at Lichfield District Council.

During his career, he was a technical author for a number of British Standards – aimed at creating industry best practice for the swimming and aquatics sector – and a member of two All-Party Parliamentary Groups, including one for swimming.

He was also a passionate advocate of children's physical activity, becoming the lead spokesperson for Children First, a national campaign to encourage the government to put children at the heart of all decision-making and to get a dedicated minister for children and young people.

Franks also sat on the ukactive's Kids council as board member.

Tweeting her condolences, Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England, said Franks' death was due to complications related to COVID-19.

"Very sad day today," she said in her tweet. "Good friend has lost the Coronavirus fight. RIP Steve Franks. Your work for baby swimming will live on. I will miss our lunches and catch-ups. Definitely a friend as well as a Swim England colleague."

ukactive Chair Tanni Grey-Thompson and ukactive Kids Council Chair Adrian Packer issued a joint statement, saying "The board and team at ukactive are devastated by the news".

"Our hearts go out to his family and the team at Water Babies," the statement reads.

"His contribution to improving the health of children will always be recognised, as CEO of the hugely successful swim school organisation, or through his leadership as part of the ukactive Kids Council.

“Steve’s passion and energy for changing children’s lives inspired us all. He is a huge loss to our movement, and we will be more determined than ever to deliver his ambition to improve our children’s health.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The physical activity sector has been left in shock by the news that Steve Franks, the long- serving chief executive of Water Babies, has died following a short illness.
SAR,WAT,SWM,HAF,FIT,IND,PTS,PHR,PUB
2020/THUMB345411_378486_541267.jpg

News

People should concentrate on exercise and staying fit – rather than dieting and weight loss
Sibec Europe, scheduled to take place in Cologne, Germany, from 2 to 5 November 2021,
Swim England has warned that 2,000 swimming pools could be lost forever unless the government
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A new high-end workspace, designed for the use of personal trainers, coaches and other health
VAT reform, adjustments in business rates and a fitness-led high street regeneration push could see
Life Fitness (UK) Ltd
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Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture
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Les Mills
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1 - 20 of 12,026
HCM Magazine
Research
The beneficial changes to the brain – prompted by exercise – protect against the development of various diseases due to signals release by muscles into the bloodstream
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Active IQ is launching courses to upskill fitness professionals to work in social prescribing, extending the reach of the industry
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Les Mills is launching a new digital network called Les Mills Connect to help clubs build back better and emerge from the pandemic with a stronger business
HCM Magazine
Letters
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM Magazine
Interview
David Lloyd Leisure has not only regained its pre-pandemic member numbers, it’s also seeking acquisitions, going hard on digital and continuing to upgrade its portfolio. Its CEO talks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
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The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways
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HCM People
We first started talking to KSL over two years ago, so this was not a rushed partnership
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HCM magazine
GLL is best known for running leisure facilities on behalf of local authorities across the UK, but a lesser-known part of its remit is its GLL Sport Foundation which supports Olympic hopefuls. Liz Terry finds out more
HCM magazine
The Gym Group has taken its digital hybrid strategy full circle, piloting in-gym workout pods and studios with its home workout delivery partner, Fiit. HCM talks to the team driving the project
HCM magazine
Generations rarely have the opportunity to reset public opinion and effect behaviour change for good, but post-pandemic two unequal movements with a lot in common will be the focus of governments, says David Minton
HCM magazine
How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM
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HCM people

David Beckham

Global partner, F45
This partnership with F45 is an exciting business venture for me
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Dr Davina Deniszczyc talks us through the findings of the first Nuffield Healthier Nation Index, which has benchmarked activity levels and attitudes to exercise among the UK population
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Technogym awarded “Supplier of the year” at ukactive awards 2021
The best in class of the physical activity sector have been revealed at the ukactive Awards 2021.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Uptivo: Individual and group heart rate tracking
Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Everyone Active
Everyone Active operates leisure centres in partnership with local councils across the UK. Today, Everyone ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Hussle
Hussle exists for two reasons: To increase opportunities for people to engage in physical activity ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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