John O’Donnell 2018

Good evening and welcome to the Beeston AC AGM. This award will be given to the recipient for their outstanding services rendered to the club throughout the years.

The person in question, had a long history associating him with the running club. He joined the running section as it was known then, in the early 80’s. I think, it was 1982/3. At that time, the PBSSC (Plessey Beeston Sport and Social Club) was in existence, as Plessey was the employer. The management of the Sports Section was done by a Gentleman, called Roger Marshall.

The company was bought out and new owners took over and the change did affect the set up as we came to know it then.  The new owners pledged their support and after a while, a decision was taken not to subsidise the Sports and Social Club.

It was crunch times and it was decided, if there were to be a future for the Running Club, we should have to be an entity on our own. That is how the Club managed to survive those turbulent times. We carried on under the name of The Plessey Siemens Running Club and the numbers were dwindling down, the infrastructure was crumbling and the coup de grace came, when an Engineer from the Electricity board turned up one lunchtime to cut the power off to the Pavilion because, the bills were not paid for 7 months.

At the helm of the club at those times, it was John Nettles. You may ask, who is John Nettles? According to some eye witnesses:

One year, there was a race from the Sports fields to Trent Bridge and back. Paddy, went missing.

When Tony Scott finished his race, he told the group, he had seen Paddy fall and disappear into a bunch of nettles. Paddy, eventually finished the race and from that day on, he was known as John Nettles. At that time, the John Nettles was a popular character in the TV series of Bergerac.

These days, if he ever goes missing on one of the Theory Group weekends away and it is closing time for the Pubs; John will be found near a cathedral doing some brass rubbing.

As a running club then, the numbers were very small, but the club was well established in the running communities.

A decision was taken to have some leadership and navigate the club away from oblivion. Without any contests, John was established as the Natural Leader of the Running Club. The most pressing item on the agenda, was the base. We needed to find a new base away from the Pavilion.

Chilwell Olympia, was the obvious choice and we managed to negotiate our move to the new base. A lot of hard work laid ahead and John got on with his task of leading the club to new pastures.

Still in full employment, John was the Chairman, the Secretary and those famous weekly emails. He was the Coach, Run Leader and the Mentor to all who were left in the Club.

By the way John, November 6th is the 310th day of the year and there are 49 days left before Christmas.

A lot interest was shown by the local people and the numbers started to pick up. Today, I am proud to say, we are close to attain the 200 mark.

Tonight, we come to recognise the outstanding contribution and services rendered to the Running Club by John. It would be difficult to quantify the size of his dedication and commitment; John rallied and supported all those who joined the Beeston AC.

One of the thing we can truly be proud of at the BAC, is the sense of community we have been able to construct and to go further in creating a sense of family.

John’s warmth, compassion, help and admiration by the many, will make him a worthy recipient of this award.

Thank you.