Pat Moran, a genial Irishman born in Westport, County Mayo was a widower when he was married in Brussels in 1902 to Miss Catherine Augusta Hartwell of 1 West End Terrace, Chipping Campden. A jeweller by profession, he was described in the 1911 census as a shareholder and patentee and living in Osbringe Road in the St. Pancras district of London.
Pat regularly visited Campden and though he carried out his business in London he came first to live in a farmhouse on Conduit Hill and then in 1937 moved to Spring Cottage, Littleworth. Family legend was that he had once been a wealthy man but had lost his money to alcohol and gambling. He made his own cider and was rumoured to have put dead rats in the barrels to give it flavour! Robert Grove and Margaret Rae (nee Lock) lived near Pat and both remember that whenever he passed them standing at the railings of their West End Terrace homes he fumbled in his pocket to find them an extra strong peppermint that was often covered in snuff and bits of fluff!
A splendid athlete in his younger days he was particularly interested in swimming and assisted the judging of both diving and swimming at the Grammar School Swimming Sports. Robert Grove recalls ‘he would get us lads to put our heads in a bucket of water and time how long we could stay under’! It was rumoured that Pat would break the ice on the Broad Campden swimming bath to go for a winter swim. In September 1904 the Evesham Journal reporter wrote of the first ever water polo match between Campden and Evesham when Pat played in goal though the match ended in a draw.
A household name in Campden.
Another Evesham Journal report, for July 1935 about the Aquatic Sports at Broad Campden it states:
Mr Moran’s name is a household word in Campden and district where swimming is concerned. When he came to Campden nearly forty years ago very few if any of the local children could swim and he imposed the task upon himself of teaching them in the old Westington Bath which he did successfully and has maintained a great interest ever since, most particularly with the improved facilities of the Broad Campden Baths. His work received grateful recognition on Thursday from Reg. Smith who was one of Mr Moran’s earliest pupils. ‘During the Great War’ said Mr Smith ‘I was in a troopship that was torpedoed and I owed my life to being able to swim – thanks to Mr Moran. He proposed a vote of thanks for his great work. Mr Moran returned thanks and said his task had been a labour of love.’
At the outbreak of World War Two he was one of the first to volunteer for what later became the Home Guard and he was an active member of Campden bowls club at one time serving on the committee.
Mr Moran died in 1950 and was survived by his wife and two children from a previous marriage.