John passed away on Saturday 24th september, following a long illness.
John was heavily involved in athletics for many years and was well respected within both the athletics and race-walking communities. From his early days with race-walking in the 1990’s, initially as a parent and then inevitably as an official, via various club management roles to running successful competitions as a founder and director of the Sheffield Festival of Athletics.
John started his journey in the early 1990’s when his daughter Nina took up race walking and with her success he gradually became more involved. He was Secretary of the Sheffield Race Walking Club for many years and then Championship Secretary for the Race Walking Association for 5 years and also the Northern Area Representative.
He took on o more responsibility in the new millennium when Sheffield Athletics Club and Sheffield Race Walking Club agreed to become one club. John was instrumental in the dissolution of the two clubs and the formation of the new one – City of Sheffield AC. He was Club Secretary for many years and also Northern League Team Manager. His expertise in organising and running home matches was second to none – including the best packed lunches courtesy of his wife Hazel.
In 2010, John helped transform a local Sheffield Open into a major annual event – Sheffield Festival of Athletics, also taking in the Lord Mayors’ 10k. This was augmented by the Steel Cup, an end of season team competition for local clubs. John continued to work tirelessly on these events despite suffering from increasing health issues. However following successful medical treatment & then surgery in late 2015, he became busier than ever. In January 2016 he was able to resume activities and organise the Indoor Festival of Athletics, which became bigger than ever. He also managed the event on the day and produced results…from his wheelchair! During his recovery from illness John undertook a timekeeping course and was later to be found most weekends (and some evenings) at a track somewhere in the UK with stopwatch in hand!
He then moved on, becoming Membership Secretary & Treasurer for the re-formed 2Dash Athletics Club, whilst continuing to provide high level competition in his role with the Sheffield Festival of Athletics and Steel Cup.
In September 2018 he received the Yorkshire & Humberside regional award from England Athletics for “Services to Athletics or Running” and then in October 2018 went on to win the National award in the same category.
He also joined the committee of South Yorkshire County Athletics Association, with responsibility for outdoor Track and Field League and Championship competition, and served on Sheffield Athletics Development Group as Secretary and Treasurer.
He was always well respected throughout Yorkshire, the North of England and UK wide by athletes/parents, coaches, officials, management and Governing Bodies and remained committed to the development of both track & field athletics and race walking locally, regionally and nationally
Eventually his health issues caught up with him once more, requiring a gradual stepping back from activities. Unfortunately despite shielding/isolation for many months he eventually succumbed to Covid which exacerbated his underlying conditions
He finally passed away surrounded by his loving family. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues within athletics and the wider community.