Lochee’s Frank Jordan has always been a people’s person.
There’s nothing Frank likes more than a good old blether, more especially if the subject is his beloved water polo and/or swimming.
And, as this column has revealed over the years, Frank has shared a table with many top personalities.
His latest tale, though, is right up there with the best of them.
“I’ve been involved in swimming and water polo for 73 years and have met a number of nice and interesting people in all walks of life,” said Frank.
“However, I never thought the day would come when I would rub shoulders with a Prime Minister.
“I was a member of the Menzieshill HS PE staff in 1978, when a chemistry teacher from Malta, Charlie Chacotti, came to the school on a work study programme.
“When he paid a visit to the school pool to take notes, he was impressed with the swimmers and water polo pupils in training.
“He said he thought the Maltese education department could arrange a tour of Malta, which included a girls water polo team.
“At that time, we didn’t have one.
“However, between December 1978 and July 1979, when the tour was due to take place, I managed to put a team together.
“In Malta, we were based in Marsaxlokk in an education hostel and, not far from the hostel, was a shoreline cove called Peter’s Pool.
“It was surrounded with rocky cliffs and the sea was crystal clear.
“It was a perfect place for the team to enjoy sun, sea and water sports.
“On our second visit, we were just leaving for a competition when I was approached by a man in a long ankle coat.
“He asked me what were we doing here.
“When I told him the reason we were in Malta, he asked me where we came from.
“My reply of Dundee saw him then go to another part of the cove, where there were four men passing a water polo ball around.
“On his beckoning, three of them approached me, one was in a bath robe and the other two were side by side.
“The gentleman in the robe then said his wife came from Dundee and she worked in the Dundee Royal Infirmary but moved to London to study.
“There, they met and were married.
“He was none other than Dom Mintoff, the Prime Minister of Malta.
“Mintoff had a summer house at the entrance to Peters Pool and, after a day in politics, he would go for his daily swim in the pool.
“After asking why we were in Malta, he invited us to visit the Grand Masters Palace in Valletta, where the squad had a banquet of goodies and a tour of the palace.
“Another trick that seemed to please the Maltese people was our red and white colours as that was also Malta’s national colours.
“On the day before we left for home, the PM and his wife came up to the hostel to say goodbye and I presented him with a school pennant and a plaque from the Dundee Council. Also a chiffon scarf for his wife with the Dundee crest on it.
“He said he didn’t have anything to give me in return but I told him we didn’t need anything as he couldn’t have done any more than he did for our tour throughout our stay and we were very grateful.
“He then took off his tie and gave it to me and I still have it to this day.”