Fred Wallis, from Selhurst, is a huge swimming advocate who has campaigned for years to protect pools from closing down.

When it was announced in 2006 that Purley swimming pool could be under threat, regular user Mr Wallis was at the forefront of campaign group Save Purley Pool, working tirelessly to convince councillors of the value of the community asset.

Working with schools, scouting groups, GPs surgeries and numerous swimming and leisure groups from across the area, Mr Wallis gathered a huge following, presenting a petition to Croydon Council with more than 4,000 signatures.

He also organised private meetings with politicians including Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway and council officials to broker an alternative to closing the pool.

Mr Wallis,who lives in Hill Cross, said: “It was unfair to take away such a good facility where a vibrant number of people from youngsters and adults swim there, and a lot of old people like me use it for their health.”

It is a mark of his work that his nomination comes from fellow campaigners who recognised the importance of his work in saving the pool.

Ken Whittick and Richard Wilmer wrote: “He has spent hours scrutinising the many steps involved in the planning department’s core strategy and the preparation of the Croydon plan, ensuring the community is involved in discussions. All this he has done almost single-handed.

“His passion for his community, supporting the needs for children, the elderly and handicapped spurred him on.”

On being nominated as a Croydon Champion, Mr Wallis said: “I was pretty surprised. I do it for the people who use the pool.”