David Crabb

Sport: Swimming

David Crabb Known as 'Dare-Devil Davie', Crabb was a former steelworker from Motherwell who, like so many others, lost his job from the Dalzell steel works as the great depression of the 1920s hit, bringing mass unemployment and hardship to the town.

Being a former gymnast in his youth he also turned his talents to high-diving and dramatic dare-devil feats, practising the early stages of his craft at the new Municipal Baths in Motherwell which opened its doors to the public in 1916.

Together with his touring companion they took their daredevil high-diving act around the country, playing to crowds of 3,000 or more spectators packing out indoor and outdoor pools across Scotland and the UK. 

During the pinnacle of the act Davie would don two sets of overalls, setting the outer layer alight; he would dive from the highest board or the roof top rafters, with the flames immediately being extinguished as he entered the pool water below to rapturous applause from the horrified onlookers.

Following a near-miss accident, Davie decided to take up safer employment, first becoming a swimming coach and eventually returning to Motherwell as Baths Superintendent in 1935.
From this, Davie and his team built a hugely popular Learn to Swim programme, with swimmers transitioning into Motherwell Swimming Club. He believed that "every child regardless of background or wealth, should be given the opportunity of bettering themselves, gaining self-respect, health and confidence through organised sport".

Accordingly, he went on to build one of Scotland and the UK's most successful swim teams that dominated British, European and World swimming from the 1940s through to the 1960s and many of his world-class protégés are likely to become future inductees into this Hall of Fame. He was clearly an amazing man, coach, mentor and egalitarian.