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PERSONALITY LINKS -
H J DYBALL
H J Dyball joined in 1912. He was
a capable sprinter who made a popular Track Captain, but it was as Club
Secretary from 1922 to 1928 that he had the most
profound influence by building up the membership after the 1914-1918 First World
War and laying the foundations for future successes.
was a natural diplomat with a remarkable gift for establishing relations with
outside bodies, such as schools, business houses and sports clubs in encouraging
them to send along new members. In this way and by the introduction of new
fixtures, a membership of fewer than 500 in 1922 had reached 657 in 1928.
Club, to his extraordinary talents and energy in its service, owes an enormous
NORMAN W PAGE
Any member of the Track & Field
team of the 50’s and 60’s will remember Norman Page as the iron fist in the
velvet glove. Many of us turned out to perform in our own specialties to find
that Norman could talk you into just one triple jump, one hammer throw, or run
for a point in the 440 yards hurdles or the 2 miles walk. As a result one always
tried that little bit harder and sometimes found a new event.
was Team Captaincy at its very best. In addition to winning many major Trophies
for the Club’ he handed “his” Team over, on his retirement, as one of the
founder qualifying teams in the newly formed National League in 1969.
Past President Alan Brent is the greatest living ‘Heathen. His contribution to
Athletics and Blackheath Harriers has been immense. His Jubilee Medal and
Presidency of the ECCU are among the apt recognitions his contributions have
top class competitor, he won medals at the Southern and National Cross-Country
Championships. He was at 50 consecutive Nationals as competitor, official and
President, but ironically was absent when Blackheath, for the first time in its
history, won its two senior team titles.
measured and experienced contributions to the many committees he has served on
are widely admired. His continued energy at the many athletics meetings he
officiates at would be respected for a man half his age. He still swims
regularly and competed in the Maryon Wilson swimming race just two days after
his 80th birthday.
cannot write about Alan without mentioning the ever-present Brenda, whose own
support of Alan and the Club was recognized by her election as the Club’s
first honorary life member and in March 2001 a Vice President.
was the first to properly celebrate his 50 years of Club membership, and his 80th
birthday was an opportunity for his many admirers and contemporaries to express
their warm feelings about Alan. A teacher by profession, happily remembered by
all whom he taught, Alan enjoyed being 80 and gave this advice to those who
attended his 80th birthday party: “Retire early and hammer the
has been a privilege and pleasure to be involved with such a great ‘Heathen.
SYDNEY WOODERSON, MBE
after joining Blackheath Harriers, Sydney Wooderson’s outstanding talent
became obvious, and under the guidance of his trainer, Albert Hill (the former
Olympic 800 & 1500 metres champion), he was rising to great heights both on
the Track and over the ‘Country.
peak achievements can best be summarized as world record holder at 880 yards and
1 mile, 5000 metres European champion and National Cross-Country champion in
1948. He had epic meetings with the Belgian Slykhuis, the Swedes Arne Anderson
and Gundar Haegg and New Zealand’s Jack Lovelock, to mention a few of the
greats – all meetings at which he was rarely beaten.
no way did all this success detract from Sydney’s love for Blackheath
Harriers, for whom he served as President in 1946 and Centenary President in
1969. He was deservedly awarded an MBE in the 2000 Birthday Honours List for
services to Blackheath Harriers and athletics.
was a quiet, retiring and unassuming solicitor’s clerk. A truly great
Blackheath Harrier and amateur sportsman, whose very qualities endear him to all
who had the privilege to know him.
Wooderson – Forgotten Champion by
David Thurlow (55 pages) are available @£5.95 including package & surface
mail world-wide from Brian A Saxton, 56 Bourne Way, Hayes, Kent, BR2 7EY on
receipt of cheque payable in the UK. This book plus the Centenary
available from the same source for a total discounted price of £20.
FREDERICK H REED
perhaps not literally the founder of Blackheath Harriers, Frederick Henry Reed
has always been accepted as the man who more or less started the Club, and by
natural right his portrait occupies a prominent position in the clubroom.
among the group of young men, living on the northern fringe of Peckham, who
started Peckham AAC in 1869. The energizing force during those early days was
provided by the indefatigable trio of Williamson (Chairman), Darnell and Reed as
Secretary/Treasurer, a post he held for 6 years. At 6.30 am he was to be found
marking out a track for the competition (held for a different event each week)
early Friday morning, and then going on to compete. Similarly, in the winter he
would lay the trail before competing himself, which he continued to do until
well-knit man of immense energy and drive, he was to become a dominant figure in
the Club for 40 years. He was much involved in the move to Blackheath and the
subsequent change of name. Also he instigated the idea in 1878 of the Club badge
of two entwined squares, whose origin or symbolism remains a mystery to this
In 1882 he
became Club President, a post he was to hold for 22 years and 9 months, during
which time the Club expanded to become a major influence in the development of
athletics. Today he appears to us as a most enigmatic figure preserving a
certain air of mystery about him; in his later years he appeared to most members
as a rather remote father figure. He was an architect by profession, designing
the Hotel Cecil where the Club held many functions, and was one time Warden of
the Saddlers Company.
His death in
1909 was historically the end of an era going back to the Club’s beginnings.
He is buried in Nunhead Cemetery, adjacent to the path along which he used to
run and over-looking the country he had enjoyed in his youth. Perhaps his
feelings for the Club are best summed up by his reply to the presentation made
to him at the Annual Dinner in 1905, when he said that Blackheath Harriers were
his only child, and he could not therefore forget it.
the Club in 1946, and although not a great runner, he was always able and
willing to turn out when required. It was soon clear after his election that
Jack’s talents lay in administration.
A chartered accountant, Jack became Entertainment Secretary in 1951, and despite
the waning of the “Bohemian Concerts” at that time, he arranged a full
programme of other parties, dances and concerts. He was also a keen rower and a
member of the Blackheath rowing crew for a number of years.
General Secretary of the Club in 1954 and remained in that post until his
election as President in 1960. As Director & Secretary of BHHQ Ltd, his
input in the development of 56 Bourne Way was considerable.
could ill afford the loss of Jack, whose sudden death whilst on holiday in the
Himalayas in 1974 – a dedicated administrator, fund raiser and holder of
widespread Club offices. His generous bequest, wisely specified, has since been
perpetuated in his memory.
He was a
gentle giant of a man, a wonderful companion and a friend of all. Through his
efforts, the huge standing of Blackheath Harriers remains to this day.
VICTOR W W BEARDON
Born 1909 in
London, Victor’s family moved to Dartford, where he attended Dartford Grammar
School, representing the school at rugby and athletics. He worked with
Metropolitan Gas Company and served in Auxiliary Fire Service 1939-45.
joined Blackheath Harriers in May 1927. He was a County class sprinter,
representing Kent and was a member of the Blackheath relay teams, which were
successful in the mid-1930’s.
administrator, he held numerous posts. Track Vice Captain 1930, Handicapper
1934-46, Hon Secretary 1946-53 and President in 1958. His last competitive
performance was in the Maryon-Wilson swimming race, when 80 years old!
In the 1950’s
he was Kent Hon Secretary and a top-ranked Starter, graduating to a Field Judge
in 1980. He was listed in the Kent County A List of Loyal Members and was always a regular and respected supporter of athletics and in particular Blackheath
Joined the club in 1912 and was an outstanding example for
the work he put into the Club and Athletics. After service in the R.N.V.R during
the first world war, and your move to Hayes Headquarters, he became a member of
that notorious body of ‘Trail Layers’ ( What would they say today, scattering
litter all over Hayes Common indeed).
services as Secretary of the wine committee for 18 years from 1930 to 1948 will
be remembered by the elder members for the efficient manner in which he
conducted his duties - particularly during the difficult times of the second
world war. This was much appreciated by serving members who were able to visit
the club, which was likened to the Windmill Theatre in that the club never
closed! Somehow, meals were produced. For example, the ‘sausage and mash’
suppers were enjoyed by members on Saturday evenings until the food situation
Nobby as he was affectionately known, also served as a
director on the board of B.H.H.Q and was chairman of the Kent County AAA. He was
a much sought after referee for many international events where his acute
knowledge of the rules enabled him to dispense his duties with firmness,
fairness and impartiality.
He became President of the club in 1948/1949, when his
duties precluded him from leading the club cry, the memory of which will be
In later years his visits to Hayes lessened through ill
health. Nobby was the last of a trio of Past Presidents from West Wickham who
had served the club conscientiously for many years and to whom the club meant so
His death war reported In June 1980.