The Man on the Bridge!
Tony has been an ACTIVE member of Ericssons AC, Plessey AC, Siemens AC and Beeston AC for over 50 years.
The first record we can find of Tony is in 1972 when he ran in the first ever Notts 10 organised by Notts AC from Harvey Hadden Stadium. Tony finished last in 56thplace in a time of 69.14 – a time that most in Beeston AC would be proud to have as their personal best.
Undeterred by his finish at the back of the field, Tony clearly put heart and soul into his running and spurred on by being a member of Plessey AC in 1979 he took over 10 minutes off his time when he ran the Notts 10 in a fantastic 58.54 and finishing first veteran over 40.
Clearly Tony, thanks to his hard work, had arrived as a good runner!
Tony competed at all disciplines, road, cross-country, fell and track even orienteering.
In addition to competing widely across the country at all distances up to the marathon, (sub 1.20 half marathon) Tony managed to become the first member of a very elite club in winning all three of the Club Handicaps. The Single Gravs Handicap in 1979 (17.58), Double Gravs in 1981 and finally the Trent Lock Handicap in 1988.
But it was not only as an athlete that Tony has contributed to the sport of athletics.
Indeed track athletics became his passion. Not as a competitor but as an qualified track and field official and administrator.
Tony was the Plessey representative on the Nottingham City Athletics league which was a highly popular series of athletic matches between all the local clubs, Notts AC, Newark AC, Players AC, Nottingham University, Trent Polytechnic and of course Plessey who were one of the founder members. Matches were held at venues like the old Highfields track, Bramcote and Clifton Campus, as well as Harvey Hadden, throughout the summer months.
In 1985 Tony was awarded the Notts AAA Badge of Honour for Service in recognition of his service to the Nottingham City Athletics League for which he had been Secretary and Treasurer for over 20 years.
At the same time, Tony was also a qualified timekeeper, Grade 2 in fact. Tony clearly loved this job and it resulted in him being present athletics matches almost every weekend during the summer, timekeeping at everything from representative matches between the AAA and regional teams at Loughborough to British Athletics League matches, right down to the kids Mini League events. In between athletics matches Tony would also timekeep at the many road and cross country races around the county.
Inevitably as time progressed the athletic performances slowed however, the enthusiasm for the sport has never diminished.
I well remember crossing paths with Tony as I ran down Bramcote Avenue, Tony was running home and with a glint in his eye, he shouted ‘I’ve just broken the over 70’s record for the Single Gravs course’ as he had celebrated his 70thbirthday earlier that week! That was 12 years ago.
Tony continued helping out local events with his timekeeping until relatively recently and can still be seen with a stopwatch in hand at the club handicaps, whatever the weather.
Finally, a whole new generation of runners will know Tony as The Man on the Bridge at Beeston parkrun – as far as I know, Tony is ever present on a Saturday morning.
Race organisers I spoke to all said the same thing, that Tony ‘could always be relied upon to support their event when asked, was a gentleman throughout, a friend to all and he also has a passion for dancing!’
So as you can see, Tony has literally had a lifetime in athletics and Beeston AC. He remains passionate about the club and as far as I’m concerned is a great ambassador to the club and is well deserving of the award of Life Membership, I hope you all agree?!
Citation by Simon Elliott at 2018 AGM