Page 46 - Summer2014Gazette
P. 46



organising groups for a day     Sydenham. He showed              Team to be selected, and on
at the races too, while Nick    compassion for others as his     the back of what was by any
bumped into him at the          recent visits to Tony Weeks-     standards very little training
Henley Regatta in 2009.         Pearson in Hastings and to       astonished more celebrated
Secondly, Graham was deeply     Alan and Brenda Brent in         team members including
understanding in nature. He     Beckenham testify.               internationals by completing
was sympathetic, tolerant       Together with Graham’s           30 individual miles with
and wise in his dealings        infectious camaraderie and       just over 40 minutes rest
with people. Amongst other      his understanding nature he      between them in an average
things he was a caring and      had a third quality, that of     time of 4:54.8. A proud
a responsible godfather,        determination and stamina.       record of determination and
turning up unannounced at       Whilst Graham qualified          stamina. One if his major
important times…birthdays,      as a PE teacher at St John’s     disappointments was that he
Christmas...with presents       College, York, he began his      never broke 2 minutes for 800
for godsons and real interest   business career in men’s         metres but came close with
in their latest achievements.   fashion clothing before          2.00.3 which Nick witnessed
Despite his illness he made     moving on to sports clothing     in 1974.
the long trek to Newcastle      and his travel business at
to see his godson Peter in      Crystal Palace. He gamefully     Ian knew Graham first from
2015 for a match at St James    employed many budding            the mid 1960’s but really got
Park where much beer was        athletes at his sports shop      to know him well at the 1970
consumed apparently. He         in Crystal Palace so they        Commonwealth Games in
made telephone calls from       could earn money and             Edinburgh. Ian was staying
far away to comfort the         continue to train. At this       in a B&B close to the stadium
bereaved and their children     time he was a promising          and when he met Graham he
too. He also raised money in    club athlete, runner-up in       told him that he was staying
the early days of fun runs for  the Kent steeplechase in         at the main line station! One
St Christopher’s Hospice in     1972 squeezing under 9:30,       morning he joined the group
                                the Blackheath club 800m         at their B&B for breakfast
                                champion in the same year.       and the landlady was giving
                                He competed as a member of       him some strange looks
                                the club teams in the Kent,      but said nothing. Later they
                                Southern and National Cross      found out that she thought he
                                Country Championships.           was the Australian, Malcolm
                                He was in the early days an      Baird, who was second to
                                active coach with the younger    David Hemery in the 110m
                                members of the club. He later    hurdles that had been held
                                confided that for him, his best  the day before. Both were a
                                performance was in the 24        similar size and shape! Ian
                                hour 10 man X 1 mile relay on    often wonders if this was
                                13th/14th April 1973. As one     when he got the idea of a
                                of the team that set a world     sports tour business.
                                best time that year, Graham
                                was the last member of the       Those who went on his
                                                                 tours will be aware that his
   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   49   50   51