When I woke up Sunday morning and took a peek at the local Facebook groups I noticed the “emergency” messages for Tracey Swann to urgently contact her son immediately. I had not heard about the fire even though I had in fact been visiting friends in Heacham that evening. As I trawled through my personal Facebook page I saw some comments with Tracey’s name attached to them. As horrible realisation dawned I could not believe what I was seeing so I confirmed independently and yes it was true. Despite the best efforts of the dedicated fire crews who attended Caley Street they were unable to save her.
Although I had left Heacham in 2008 to live in the surrounding area I maintained fairly strong ties within the village and could not help but be aware of Tracey as she flitted about making so many local events happen. Having changed Drs I had no idea that Tracey was also a member of the nursing team at Heacham Surgery where her special touch brought much comfort to others at difficult times in their lives.
Tracey was always popping up with posters and requests for promotion on line and she was personally very dedicated to the Save the Heacham Fire Station Campaign and without her the station would doubtless have closed and I for one am grateful for her success in this. Thus, for the local Fire Station crew Tracey will be forever in their hearts and they will, sadly, suffer much at her loss.
Although our sons were friends, Tracey and I did not get much opportunity to get to know one another closely but we did spend a little time together when our sons were younger. However, Tracey always appeared caring, frantically busy and very much the doting mother. She most certainly was selfless in the way she went about things. Her direct involvement with the Heacham Youth Club led to the prominent rise of the Heacham Youth Trust offering something special for the young of the village. This charity is co-ordinating the emerging donations being made to help support her son, Tanner, as he finds a way to rebuild his life following the fire which took his mother and everything he owned. The funds raised by the goodness of the local people continue to grow and will, I hope, be maintained for many years since Tanner is so young and his mother personally put so much into making things better for everyone.
On Tuesday, 27 Sept, I was involved in the launching of a new fortnightly 4N business networking group based at Heacham Manor Hotel. The Area Co-ordinator asked me to nominate a charity for the group and I had no hesitation in asking that the group adopt Heacham Youth Charity as our chosen cause. I added the proviso that the funds be directed to Tanner Swann for as long as he needs it).
Tracey and Tanner had two dogs, Aero and Cesar, who were rescued from their Caley Street home. Following a short period of uncertainty they have been found a home through Shaman’s Legacy. Happily the pair will be staying together locally in Grimston enabling Tracey’s family to visit them and see how they are settling in.
The organisations and events Tracey has been proactively involved in supporting over the years is remarkable for a single person and include:
- Save Heacham Fire Station
- Heacham Youth Club
- Remembrance Sunday
- Queen’s Jubilee Street Party
- Heacham Beach Party
- Smithdon High School PTA
- Chairman of the Community Activities Committee
- Photo Exhibition in Old Friends Hall
- Heacham Infant & Nursery Fundraising
- Heacham Carnival
- Community Building Project
- Keep Heacham a Village
- Art Exhibition Old Friends Hall
- Queen’s Birthday Party in the Park
- Heacham Twinning Society
It is highly likely there are more community contributions where Tracey’s hand has been seen but the list so far is a remarkable testament to the type of person she was and the life she lived. Tracey may have been taken far too early but she certainly packed a lot more into her life than most.
I have always admired and respected her but little did I realise just how much of a difference having Tracey Swann around has meant to so many. The village of Heacham and the local area are now giving back as much as they can in so many different ways to ensure Tracey’s family get the support they need. I hope Tanner particularly can take comfort in the high regard his Mum was and is held and know that she will never be forgotten for all the good she has done and the differences she has made.