Helen Smart Wiki – Helen Smart Biography

The heartbroken parents of Olympic swimmer Helen Smart have said they ‘cannot fathom’ her sudden death at 42, asking: ‘How could she just go to sleep and never wake up?’ John Don-Duncan paid tribute to his daughter on Facebook, sharing a photo of him, his partner Linda and Helen smiling together in a family photo.

He wrote: “Helen was our pride and joy…we are so proud of her…she lit up a room as soon as she arrived…Linda and I cannot fathom how she could just go to sleep and not wake up? !xx’ Helen was a world-class competitive swimmer and back specialist who won a bronze medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and silver medals at the World and European Championships.

After representing Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she decided to retire from it and become headmistress at Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School on Clifton Street in Wigan. Helen’s husband, Craig Smart, said that his wife “loved the school, the staff, the children and the parents very much” and she was “very proud to reach her goal of being principal.” In a tweet, Olympic medalist Sharron Davies also paid tribute, writing: “This is very sad news. It is always a pleasure to interview and always with a big smile on her face. A fierce competitor.


The husband, Mr. Smart, added: ‘I remember last week he said that his goal was to make the school outstanding and that he had the right staff to do it! I hope you all continue to learn like champions. “Please learn from this and live your best life, no regrets, take lots of photos, make memories and keep smiling like Helen always did.” Others have described as an ‘inspiration to so many in the world of swimming’ that she was the ‘most incredible person’.

No further details about her death have yet been released. Posting a statement on Facebook, Alison Halliwell, the school’s principal, said: “It is with great sadness and regret that I have to announce the sudden death of our beloved principal, Ms Helen Smart.” “Our deepest condolences go out to Helen’s family at this very difficult time. I know this news will come as a shock and cause great sadness in our community.

‘I want to reassure you that the Worsley Mesnes school principals are working with the local authority and the school to ensure that our children, staff and parents receive the necessary support in the coming weeks. ‘More information/updates will be posted when available.’ In addition to winning numerous medals throughout her career, Helen placed 15th in the 200m backstroke event at the 2000 Olympics.


Helen Smart  Age

The age of Helen Smart was 42 year.

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Helen Smart cause of death

She was also a member and integral part of the Pemberton Old Wigan Band for over 30 years. Some of Helen’s closest teammates in the pool also shared memories of her “inspiring, vibrant, happy, friendly, fun and kind” friend they affectionately called DD. Rachael Ashcroft, who swam alongside Helen on the Lancashire, English and British teams, said he was lucky to have called Helen her friend of 32 years.

“Helen was special: the kind of person you want your kids to be when they grow up,” he said. “From the moment I met her, aged 11 at Everton Park Sports Centre, I immediately took a liking to her. I think we bonded over our slightly unusual and unique last names and, of course, our love of swimming. I found it easy to be around her, especially when I was so nervous before competing.


‘Helen’s steely determination and natural competitive spirit have always inspired me. We competed with each other many times, but somehow she always felt like we were competing with each other, helping each other along the way. ‘Her achievements of numerous British records, British titles, European, Commonwealth, World medals and the achievement of her Olympic dream were the result of her discipline, commitment, dedication and faith in herself.

“Despite her success, she was always humble and down to earth and she always helped others who had a bad career or didn’t get what they wanted instead of concentrating on herself. I know she picked me up a few times out of bitter disappointment and made me smile. ‘I’ve never heard a bad word uttered by anyone about Helen and how they could. She was always kind, attentive and took care of everyone, especially me.

‘The end of Helen’s swimming career did not see the end of her focus and drive. ‘Helen was always dedicated to everything she believed in: teaching and coaching swimming, her outstanding commitment to the Pemberton Band, her career as a brilliant teacher and conductor, maintaining her friendships and her many other interests.


However, her main focus was her beautiful family that she adored more than anything. They are very close and they all did a lot together. Her two young children, Heidi and Stanley, and her husband, Craig, were her pride and joy and she was the best mom and wife. I will do everything I can to make sure they know exactly why her mom was so special to everyone. Thank you, Helen, for always being there. I love you.’

World and Commonwealth champion Katy Sexton made her Olympic debut alongside Helen in Sydney. Paying tribute to him, Katy said: “I’ve been trying to find the words to say about this, but I’m so shocked by the news that I don’t know what to say.” “Helen was such a vibrant character, always happy and a great friend and roommate.

She “She was such a dedicated athlete and she had an amazing work ethic that led to her life outside of sports. “She will be greatly missed and my deepest condolences go out to her family.” Nick Sellwood said he was lucky to have coached Helen at club level and with national teams. He said: ‘She was a very personable, hardworking and talented person who was a joy to have in any team environment.


‘She always made time for the younger swimmers in the group, sharing experiences and advice for her benefit. ‘Anyone who came in contact with Helen benefited. A great loss. Karen Pickering, who won 34 international medals during her glittering career, including eight gold medals at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games, fondly remembered Helen’s sense of humour.

She said: ‘I was lucky enough to be on teams with Helen or DD as she was known. Helen was a fierce competitor, brave in training but humble in her victories and medal success. I will remember her most for her sense of humor, her laugh and the smile that rarely left her face. Any alley or room was happier when she was in it. Sarah Price, Commonwealth Champion in the 200m backstroke in Manchester 2002, also shared memories of Helen, in and out of the water.

She said: ‘Helen and I share a very special chapter of our lives – our passion for swimming. ‘Swimming brought us together, a girl from the north and a girl from the south who shared the same love of backstroke. I am very grateful for all the memories we had together traveling the world, where we spent so much time training and competing.


‘I had the greatest respect and admiration for DD as a swimmer and a friend. Whether we were racing, training, or just hanging out, she was so kind in everything she did and was extremely fun and kind.She was a tough competitor in the pool, as well as the most loving friend.

“However, I remember Helen as someone who would always light up a room when she walked in and her contagious laugh would make everyone smile. “It’s no surprise that she has gone from swimming to becoming an elementary school principal, working hard and inspiring everyone around her. “DD always had and always will have a very special place in my heart, as the most amazing person.”

Sarah Johnson trained alongside Helen at St Helens from 1995-2000 and said she had a huge impact on many people. “You would always find Helen with a smile on her face,” Sarah said. Even during and after 40 x 100 backstroke! She was the person everyone admired in the club. She was kind and a lot of fun, always willing to include everyone and made the hours and hours of training, week after week, so much more enjoyable.


She “trained harder than everyone and she deserved all her successes in swimming, but she would have a lot of fun along the way, which is hard when you’re staring at a black line or the ceiling for 25 hours a week.” “We wreaked a lot of havoc on our trainer, Ivor Tattum, who sadly died in 2004. We once put all the silverware from a table at a restaurant in Canada in his coat pockets; he found it when he got back in the car, and I had to return it red-faced.

“Helen was truly a shining light in the North West swimming community – the impact she had on so many people has been immeasurable.” Several other people posted on Facebook saying that Helen was “so loving” and “wonderful.” One person wrote: ‘Devastating news. I am grateful to have been taught by a wonderful teacher and a beautiful soul.’

The Tyldesley Swimming & Water Polo Club also paid tribute saying: “Sad news over the weekend about the sudden passing of Olympian Helen Smart. Helen was an inspiration to many in the world of swimming. Our thoughts are with the entire Smart/DonDuncan family at this time. Several other people posted on to Facebook saying Helen was ‘so caring’ and ‘wonderful.  One person wrote: ‘Devastating news. I am grateful to have been taught by a wonderful teacher and a beautiful soul.’


Tyldesley Swimming & Water Polo Club also paid tribute by saying: ‘Sad news over the weekend about the sudden passing of Olympian Helen Smart.  ‘Helen was an inspiration to so many in the swimming world. Our thoughts are with all the Smart/DonDuncan family at this time.’ A spokesperson for Pemberton Old Wigan Band said: ‘We are all heartbroken and our love and thoughts are with Craig and the children.

‘With her enthusiasm and joy for playing, Helen was ecstatic when the band won the Second Section North West Area title in 2022, followed by a brilliant runner-up finish at the National Final and promotion to the First Section for the first time in the band’s history. ‘Helen brought her champion mindset and inspirational teaching methods to each and every rehearsal and thrived on developing the next generation of players.’ Read More…..

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