THE son of a former Olympic swimmer who died in the early hours of Christmas Eve has paid tribute to his dedicated dad.

Brian Jenkins from Old Town passed away peacefully in hospital aged 74 after medication taken to combat his heart infection failed to work and his family made the difficult decision to withdraw treatment.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years Gill, his son Paul, daughter Karen and granddaughter Kyra.

Paul said: “We got a call from the hospital at 4am on Christmas Eve, it was heart-breaking.

“There’s never a good time for a loved one to die but this time of year does magnify it a bit, it wasn’t the Christmas we expected.

“He was so kind and generous, he’d do anything for anybody, he never let anyone down and always gave 100 per cent.

“His motto throughout his life was ‘It’s nice to be important and it’s important to be nice.’

“He was an amazing dad, he was like a Swiss Army knife, he could do anything.

"When Mum was pregnant, we called the midwife but she went to the wrong Mrs Jenkins so Dad delivered me at home himself.

"He was my hero."

Brian competed in the 200m butterfly in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when he was 20 and went on to win medals in the Commonwealth Games and European Games.

He held the British 200m butterfly record for 43 years and trained by swimming at Milton Road Health Hydro with no coach in-between competitions while also working as an apprentice plumber.

Before putting his sporting days behind him to run his own plumbing business, he won the title of Mr Britain after entering a natural bodybuilding competition.

Paul added: "Dad was very humble, you'd have to go into the loft to find any of his Olympic kit or his invitation to 10 Downing Street.

"He taught my daughter to swim and went to Swindon Dolphins to teach children there, he even gave away some of his own medals to kids who won races.

"He was passionate and dedicated, even last year after his second stroke, he'd still go to the pool."

Paul reminisced about some of the good times he shared with his much-missed father.

Paul added: "When I used to play football, he bought a Volvo just to take the team to away games, we'd all cram into the backseat.

“One of my happiest memories is when he came home after recovering from his quadruple bypass, we took him to his allotment, he sat there looking out at it with a bottle of cider in his hand and a big grin on his face.”