Obituaries 2009 - Centurions1911

Centurions 1911
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Triubutes to Centurions who have passed away

Friends and family of Centurions who have passed away are remembered in the News section

obituaries archive

Ron Purkis  C.652
One known and respected by all Essex Walker readers, R.I.M.(Ron) Purkis, at the age of 77 after suffering from cancer.

Dave Ainsworth shares his memories:
A former Hon.Secretary of Stevenage & North Herts AC Ron qualified as a Centurion in 1979 at Ewhurst clocking an excellent 19.35.45 in Metropolitan Walking Club's famous colours. Ron only made up his mind to appear 3 weeks beforehand! Ron trained with fellow Stevenage resident Ken Roost (Centurion 557 who had qualified as 4 years earlier and was eager to race Ewhurst again). Having been Ken's training partner he made a late decision to enter and was rewarded with a wonderful time. Ken and Ron were also colleagues in the Royal Air Force. Ron was a regular attender of RAF reunions.
Indeed when I was stationed at Henlow near Bedford in the early 70s our PT Officer was legendary Centurion (225) Flight Lieutenant "Dicky" Bird who staged many RAF races there.
Ron was a chiropodist in nearby Stevenage and often came to help out or walk in guest capacity.
In 1976 Ron (with Ken as his assistant) organised the 1976 RWA National 20 Miles in Stevenage.
It was a omen of what was to come, for Ron's course took walkers off public roads and onto cycle tracks, through parks and under subways. Some complained that they couldn't follow the race by car, but Ron was a poineer of what would be the norm. Ken's main task was getting judges to different positions and timekeepers to various intermediate timing points - a task completed successfully as he lived locally and knew the "cut-throughs".
Ron resided in Waterlooville and had served as a Councillor on Havant Council. Ron also put a lot of time into coaching youngsters. He retired - very publicly - a few years ago after being pulled in the BMAF 10K Championship 'A' race on a hot Enfield day. His shouted louder than a Speakers Corner orator in the car park that, having been disqualified, he'd also been branded as a cheat. He'd never cheated in his his life, he boomed, and then severed his connection with active race walking...he upheld his words - never again to step onto a starting line.

J. R. Taylor
Former Centurions President JOHN EDDERSHAW has notified Essex Walker of this Centurion’s death. A Highgate Harrier who clocked 22.04.51 at 100 Miles of the 1955 London-to-Brighton-and-Back 104 miles which he finished in 23.20.20 becoming Centurion No. 250. John advises that in later life he changed his name to WALSH by deed poll.
from Essex Walker August 2009

C-520 Jan van Alfen
13th May 2009  (D.O.B. 05-Nov-1939)
Jan van Alfen became to Centurion in Bristol 1973.  Jan was more than 40 years a member of SV de LAT Amsterdam and a former President of that walking club.

C-541 Martin Bruil
14th May 2009  (D.O.B. 10-Febr-1937)
Martin Bruil became to Centurion in Leicester - Skegness 1974. Martin has walked the 100 miles races 6 times (pr. 21.43.32)
Martin was an active walker till his death (last year he walked the Coast to Coast in England together with his wife and C-389 Piet Jansens)
C-389 Piet Jansens

Keith Read C. 547

True race walking stalwart KEITH READ took his leave of us on Tuesday 17th February after being admitted to hospital with serious illness. Illness had been part of his life for some while, as his wife had been unwell, so resulting in the now Sussex-based judge reducing his officiating appearances.

A former RWA Southern Area President and long-serving (and also controversial) Honorary RWA Southern Area Area Judges Secretary, he believed passionately in the 'A' race code. However his support for that did not prevent him from adjudicating 'B' races despite considering them not to be proper races (as numerous listeners in his company heard over many years). He won the Postmen's-in-Uniform title and several other Post Office/Civil Service races. In the colours of his former Club (SWC) he became Centurion No.547 at Surrey's Ewhurst 100 Miles in June 1975 when he clocked an excellent 19 hours 20 minutes and 21 seconds. Repeated today it'd make him our UK Champion!

Keith had a soft spot for Essex and despite moving to Sussex he continued supporting races in our County, hardly ever missing a Basildon event. Many readers will have had arguments with Keith over the years, but we're sure that they're now all forgotten - life's too short for rows. At a RWA Southern Area meeting Keith once held up a copy of Essex Walker and tore in it half, denouncing it as " that rag". We turned it into our advantage, for in our next edition, we described Essex Walker as a "ripping-good READ". He later became one of our greatest supporters. Keith actually ran the London Marathon 10 years as "unattached" so proving that he'd retained a fair degree of his noted fitness. To his family we extend our condolence on the passing of one who was a formidable competitor at all distances, from sprints to 100 Miles, who then worked tirelessly for our sport in his officiating capacities.
Dave Ainsworth
He will be sorely missed - Ed Shillabeer
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