Peter Heatly

Sir Peter Heatly, CBE DL (9 June 1924 – 17 September 2015) was a Scottish diver and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation.[2] He competed in the 3 m springboard and 10 m platform at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, at the 1950, 1954 and 1958 British Empire Games, and at the 1954 European Championships. He won five British Empire Games medals and one European medal, while his best Olympic result was fifth place in 1948. Heatly was knighted in 1990, before being inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, the Scottish Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2016.

Peter Heatly
Peter Heatly 1950.jpg
Heatly at the 1950 British Empire Games
Personal information
Born9 June 1924[1]
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Died17 September 2015 (aged 91)
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
EducationUniversity of Edinburgh, Engineering
Spouse(s)Jean Hermiston (m 1948, d 1979) Mae Calder Cochrane (m 1984, d 2003)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Leith on Coburg Street,[3] Heatly was educated at Leith Academy and began his diving career with Portobello Amateur Swimming Club (PASC).[4] He was inspired to become a diver after watching Pete Desjardins dive at Port Seton. Heatly was eleven years old, and Desjardins asked to see him dive and gave him tips.[3]

By the age of thirteen Heatly had become the East of Scotland Champion (1937),[1] and he held this title until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.[4] The outbreak of war put things on hold; however, Heatly became a record holder in the 440-yards and 880-yards during this time.[3] Heatly studied engineering at the University of Edinburgh[4] and continued to train with PASC.[5]

Heatly wanted to enlist; however, as he was doing well with his studies at University, he was advised to join the Officers' Training Corps instead.[3] When he graduated from University, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers, but before he could be posted, the war ended.[3] Healty became an apprentice at Rosyth's Naval Dockyard; however, he kept up his training at the sports facilities nearby[4] and became a Scottish Freestyle Champion in 1946[5], a title he kept until 1958.[3]

Heatly married Jean Hermiston in 1948[4]; he ran the family business of heating and ventilation, and a building and construction company while competing internationally and raising his four children.[3]

International competitionsEdit

At the 1948 Olympics, Heatly placed fifth in the platform and 13th in the springboard.[1] At the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand, he won a gold medal in the platform and a silver in the springboard.[3] Heatly had been unable to practise for most of the five-week journey by ship to Auckland, except for one training session which took place in a U.S. base in Panama.[6]

At the 1952 Olympics, Heatly placed 12th in the platform and 16th in the springboard.[1] At the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada, he won a gold in the springboard and a bronze in the platform.[5] The same year he won a bronze in the platform at the European championships.[7]

At the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, Heatley was appointed as captain and flagbearer for the Scotland Team.[8][9] He won a gold medal in the platform,[2] and retired from competitions after that.[10]

Later lifeEdit

Heatly became the Chairman of Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland (now Commonwealth Games Scotland), in 1967–1971[5], Chairman of the Scottish Sports Council, (now sportscotland), in 1975–87, and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation, in 1982–90.[7] Heatly has a unique connection with the Commonwealth Games as he has consecutively attended seventeen games, from 1950 to 2014, in an official capacity as a competitor, organiser, Chairman of the Federation, as the Life Vice President of the Federation,[7] team manager and Chef de Mission.[8]

Healty was also the President of Scottish Swimming on two separate occasions, Chairman of the British Swimming Federation, was a Councillor for the City of Edinburgh and was an integral part of the planning of the Royal Commonwealth Pool.[7] He also served in many roles on both the European (LEN) and World (FINA) Technical Diving Committees from 1966 to 1988.[7][11]


Heatly was awarded a CBE in 1971 and was knighted in 1990, before being inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, the Scottish Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010[2] and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2016.[11][12] He was made Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh in 1984, and held honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh (1992) and St Margaret's College (1994).[3][13]

Personal lifeEdit

Heatly had four children by his first wife Jean, who was also known as Bertha; she died in 1979.[3] He re-married Mae Cochrane; she was also a widower with four children of her own.[14] Together Peter and Mae had twenty grandchildren; Mae died in 2003.[4]

Heatly was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the 1980s but lived with the disease for nearly thirty years before he died.[3] His grandson James Heatly won a bronze medal in the 1 m springboard at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d "Peter Heatly Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Obituary: Sir Peter Heatly, 91". Archived from the original on 22 June 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Stephen Naysmith (19 September 2015). "Sir Peter Heatly". Herald Scotland.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Tam Dalyell (13 October 2015). "Sir Peter Heatly: Diver who won Commonwealth medals". The Independent.
  5. ^ a b c d "Sir Peter Heatly honoured in Edinburgh". British Swimming. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Sir Peter Heatly". The Times. 1 October 2015. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Diver Peter Heatly honoured at the Royal Commonwealth Pool". The Edinburgh Reporter. 19 September 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Sir Peter Heatly CBE DL 1924–2015 – Team Scotland". Team Scotland. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Commonwealth Games: James Heatly family affair swells Scottish success". BBC Sport. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Sir Peter Heatly | Scottish Swimming". Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b Sir Peter Heatly (GBR) 2016 Honor Contributor. International Swimming Hall of Fame
  12. ^ "Sir Peter Heatly Inducted into Hall of Fame – Team Scotland". Team Scotland. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Sir Peter Heatly | Scottish Swimming". Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  14. ^ Obituary – Lady (Mae) Heatly The Scotsman, 5 May 2003; retrieved 17 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Commonwealth Games: James Heatly wins first Scottish diving medal in 60 years". Retrieved 22 June 2018.

External linksEdit