Graham Botley the driving force behind Centersport travel for many years sadly died on Sunday 30th August 2015 aged 71 after a long and courageous battle with bone cancer. Graham was a regular on the cross country trips to Ghent and Brussels for many years and he will be fondly remembered by many northern athletes who had the pleasure of his company on those trips.

Graham Botley

A past president of Blackheath Harriers Graham’s business was originally based in London at the Crystal Palace sports stadium before he relocated to Birmingham in the late 1990s building his travel business into one of the major athletics tour companies in the country. Graham was a regular face at all major athletics championships and major games for many years.

Graham’s love of Athletics included indoors and outdoors with a special place in his heart for cross country. Graham caught the travel bug on his first venture abroad – hitch-hiking to Switzerland at the age of 18 – and he never looked back. He visited over 70 countries on his travels. His first ever tour was to the World Cross-Country Championships in Limerick in 1979. It rained continuously for 4 days, but the seed was sown and he organised and led spectator groups to this event for the next 30 years in destinations as far-flung as Auckland, Marrakech, Boston, Cape Town – and Gateshead! Graham also enjoyed over a 40 year association with the British Athletics Supporters Club.

Graham was a great companion on winter cross country trips his local knowledge was second to none and his love of travel and meeting people was clear to anyone who ever had a conversation with him. A true bohemian

Graham’s funeral will take place on Friday 25th September, with a 1.30pm service at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium followed by a wake at the Four Oaks Pub.  The address is Tamworth Road, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LG, and the Four Oaks pub is about three miles away at 62 Belwell Lane, Four Oaks, B74 4TR.

Family flowers only; for anyone wishing to make a donation in place of flowers, the charities that we feel were closest to Graham’s heart are: The Haematology Fund (the hospital department which treated Graham for seven years) and The Cedarmore Housing Association (which cares for Graham’s beloved Mum). Full details are provided below

The Haematology Fund, 13-5-809, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, B15 2GW. The Cedarmore Housing Association Ltd. Beechmore Court.267 Southlands Road, Bromley, Kent. BR1 2EG.