Obituaries 2012-2013 - Centurions1911

Centurions 1911
Go to content
Tributes to Centurions who have passed away 2012- 2013

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


obituaries archive

George Mitchell C450
Centurion George Mitchell passed away on 8 December 2013 only a few short weeks after his 99th birthday.
George qualified as a Centurion in 1970 at the Leicester to Skegness race with a time of 21.10.57. He was, by all accounts, a talented competitor at all distances and continued to be so well into his veteran years. He was also there to support fellow club members and walkers offering assistance and encouragement to anyone without attendants.
When Birmingham WC ceased to exist, George joined Birmingham & Royal Suttin Coldfield AC and then later became a Birchfield Harier. His health was such that he competed a race after his 90th birthday and George was a regualr correspondent with fellow alkers until teh last year of his eventful, rich and full life.
The Midlands has lost one of their most popular activists. To his widow Rita, and all family members, we express our sincerest condolences.

C-607 Pierre van der Kop

Passed away 23th September 2013 - no further details

Larry Miles RIP  C. 454
Aptly-named Larry Miles commenced race walking when encouraged by 1960s big-name Dave Levy when at RAF Seletar (Singapore). Then 16 stones, he sought a pursuit to lose weight and in early days found that taking up a minority sports event saw awards and prizes came quickly! Larry epitomised service life as during 38 years "the-call-of-the-drum" took him on 29 postings. Retired Warrant Officer Larry's duties were in Mechanical Transport.

Larry was an RAF Race Walking Team regular, under the direction of legendary Manager Dicky Bird C225, appearing in Representative matches and gaining Combined Services selections. In 1970 he completed the Leicester-to-Skegness 100 Miles in 21.51.30 becoming Centurion No.454. He'd have had badge No 453, but this number was left blank/unallocated.
Larry sported a traditional RAF handlebar moustache ... as did his attendant at that event - fellow Trowbridge AC/RAF Representative walker Squadron Leader Mike Perkins C490. Two years' later they reversed roles on the same course as Mike walked/Larry attended. Larry never got as much weight off as planned and, at times, didn't look like an athlete ... but it was deceptive as he'd really move himself and, with no trouble, easily beat 7 miles in-an-hour in Opens. Fellow Trowbridge/RAF walker and now Dereham resident Dave Browning remembers a Representative match between RAF UK-based walkers and those in Germany. Said Dave "I was selected, Larry wasn't. But he was asked to travel as an official. He was appointed a Judge on-the-day ... and pulled me out of the race!" Many of West Countryman Larry's postings were in that part of the world ... which in the 60s/70s was a hotbed of race walking activity.
A Marlborough resident, he suffered a heart condition and died aged 78 years, with widow Grace assuring us his passing was peaceful.
From Essex Walker November edition

Wim Timmer C-379
Wim  passed away on 4 August 2013. Wim qualified as a Centurion in 1965 at Chigwell. Our condolences to his wife Tinie and to his family.
from Piet Jansens C-389 Secretary CVN

Brian W. Scrivens C.337
Brian passed away on Tuesday, 4th December 2012 aged 78 after  years of ill-health.
Brian qualified in 1962 at the Leicester-to-Skegness with a time of 23.45.30 becoming Centurion 337.  

Throughout the years he willingly donated to our sport, including sponsorship of an award to recognise Sandra Brown's meritorious contribution to long distance walking.  Representing the now defunct Royal Sutton Coldfield Walking Club and for many years when the BMAF 20K was held at Sutton Park it was usually Brian at the numbers table warmly greeting walkers from all around the Country.  Despite great difficulty in getting about Brian made considerable effort to attend Centurions AGMs and when he couldn't he always sent his apologies.  

So so sad.  What a nice man...but one not blessed with good health. Despite that he always seemed so positive about his the end!  And we can all remember the great difficultuies he faced when travelling long distances to attend our AGMs.
from Dave Ainsworth

Very sad news. Brian was a lovely gentleman, his geat kindness and generosity combining with an indomitable spirit. Brian bore his health problems, which would have beaten a lesser man, with a good spirit and was always positive and optimistic. A very special Centurion whom we remember with great affection, and great respect.
from Sandra Brown

So sorry to hear of the passing of Brian SCRIVENS a really great servant of Race Walking over so many years. May he Rest in Peace.    
from Bill Sutherland

John Kelly C.376
from Pierce O'Callagh
Received an email (see below) from Jack Mortland who is the editor of the Ohio Race Walker notifiying the death of John Kelly.
John was the 2nd Irish Olympic Race Walker (although 3rd if we count John Reid from Clonliffe Harriers who competed for Great Britain & Ireland in 1908) and a great guy who lived a fascinating life to the full. He attended the Dublin Grand Prix of RW in 1994 and had tears with pride at how far Irish Race Walking had come since the 1960s..
from the Ohio Racewalker

I am sad to report that I received a phone call last evening from Kati Kelly letting me know that her husband John had passed away on Nov. 13 following a long bout with lung disease compounded by a heart condition. John was an Irish Olympian, walking the 50 Km in the 1968 Mexico City Games, having qualified with a 4:24:22 in the U.S. Championships. He was 83 years old.
Born in Ireland, he moved to Australia in 1949, where he competed in such far flung activities as boxing and hammer throwing, as well a long distance running and walking, and to the U.S. in 1959. He competed quite successfully in both running and racewalkng here and became a fixture in Masters racewalking beginning in the '70s. He was a coach of racewalkers and a tireless worker in promoting the sport. One of his greatest achievements was a walk across Death Valley in record time. He was U.S. Centurion #38 (Centurions being those who complete 100 miles in 24 hours or less).

from his official biography on the IOC website....
John Kelly grew up in Graystown, Ireland, studying at the Graystown National School, but when he turned 20 he emigrated to Australia and then went back-and-forth between Melbourne and New Zealand for a few years, working construction. While there he tried to make the 1956 Australian Olympic team as both a hammer thrower and boxer, without success. In the 1950s he had won Golden Gloves Tournaments in Melbourne, and was runner-up at the 1957 New Zealand Championships as a heavyweight. He also played rugby as a wing forward, helping New Plymouth win the Moran Cup in 1954 at Auckland's Eden Park.
In 1959 Kelly moved to the United States where he considered a boxing career and began to train at Bobby Gleason's Gym in New York, but instead started to run marathons, and ran the 1964 Yonkers Marathon. . In 1965 he won the Philadelphia Marathon in 2-37:23, although it snowed throughout the race. At the time of the 1968 Olympics, in which he raced as a walker, he competed for the Melrose Athletic Association outside of Boston. He later moved to California where he competed for the Southern Cal Striders and the Santa Monica Track Club.
In 1973 Kelly earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records when he walked 120 miles in Death Valley in a record time of 34 hours 9 minutes and 9 seconds, beating the previous record by 28 hours 30 minutes. Despite soaring July temperatures he attempted the feat to free the Forth Worth Five, who were Irish-Americans considered wrongly imprisoned in Texas. The ensuing publicity resulted in the dismissal of charges of supplying arms to the IRA and their release from prison - Senator Ted Kennedy and the Archbishop of Texas aided in this effort.

Personal Best: 50kmW - 4-25:24 (1968). He held the Irish 50km record from 1968-1992.

C209   Philip G Malins MBE (Military) MC Order of the Rising Sun Gold and Silver Rays

Philip Malins MBE MC, one of our most illustrious and oldest Centurions,  has died aged 92

At the age of 92 years, Phil Malins has passed-on. He was Centurion 209 having qualified in Royal Sutton Coldfield WC colours at the now defunct Birmingham-to-London event of Coronation Year finishing (103 and-a-half miles)in 22.21.45 passing 100 Miles in 21.26.11.  It was the first 100 Miles race of this distance to included a team race and it was Philip who closed home the winning Club (with G.Hall & E.M.Wilde).  Like many races longer than 100 Miles, those reaching that point were offered an opportunity to leave the race with a recorded time... none took it and all pressed on to a Wembley Stadium finish.  The race was won by Woodford Green's Tommy Richardson.
Philip was last seen by many when attending The Centurions 95th Dinner at The Royal Air Force Club in 2006.  The Times carried a long obituary - over half-a-page long - which concentrated on his distinguished World War II service, mainly in the Burma Campaign, for which he was awarded a Military Cross.  He was a most active Post War campaigner on ex-servicemen's issues and passionately advocated reconciliation between old adversaries from Far East Campaigns.  His Times obit mentioned walking as a great passion of his. Olympic gold medallist and fellow RSC Club member Ken Matthews MBE remembers Phil travelling to the 1960 Rome Olympics on a motor scooter...he never arrived owing to a serious road accident in France.  It was so bad that only a French surgeon's skills saved a foot, for which the accident victim was forever grateful.  
He died a bachelor and we express condolence to his family members on the passing on of a race walker and a true British hero.
Dave Ainsworth

Kathy Crilley, C.933, (Assistant Secretary) writes :
Philip was one of the first Centurions to apply for a ticket to the Centenary Dinner 2011 and was greatly looking forward to it. He asked to be seated with Ted Billigham and his wife as Ted had looked after him in 1953 in his qualifying  race; Philip, in turn, had looked after Ted  when he qualified. However, a couple of weeks before the dinner, Philip phoned me to say he thought he was a "bit too frail' to make the journey to London and said how he was bitterly disapointed that he couldn't join in the celebrations. We had a good old natter and Philip spoke of how proud he was to be part of such a special band of walkers and that becoming a Centurion meant so much to him. He recalled "with pleasure the dinners of more than 50 years ago in the time of Ernest Neville in the House of Commons Restaurant"
At that time I didn't know much of his history so I did a bit of research and, indeed, he was quite a remakable man:
Philip was the chairman of the International Friendship and Reconciliation Trust and has been deeply involved in promoting “reconciliation” between Japan and Britain in conjunction with Japan’s brutal treatment of British prisoners of war during the World War II and was awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun” by Japanese government for his  “outstanding contribution to post-Second World War reconciliation between the UK and Japan” according to the Japanese Embassy (London). The presentation of the medal took place in  in 2010.
Needless to say that after all he had suffered, he still cherished the adversity of walking 100 miles (ior more) in 24 hours. A true Centurion.
I did have a note to myself to send a birthday card for the 8th May - but sadly not needed.

C-571 Theo Janssen
We have sadly to inform you abouth the death of C-571 Theo Janssen (d.o.b. 25-08-1941) on 13th February 2012. Theo became to Centurion in 1975 Ewhurst in 23.20.31 We have sent in name of all Centurions our sympathy to his Wife Loes and the Family.
With kind regards
C-389 Piet

Dianne Bullard (nee Pegg) C.608
Dianne (Dy) died of a heart atack whilst on a skiiing holiday in Val d'Isere, France on Saturday, 28th January 2012.
Dy was a member of Medway AC and the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA).
Dy entered (or tried) to enter a Centurion race but was refused entry by Surrey Walking Club.  The following year at the Bristol Hundred (1977) both Dy and Ann Sayer (C.599) were allowed to enter and both completed. Ann, finishing ahead of Dy received all the kudos, but both were lauded as the first two lady Centurions. Dy completed the 100 in 22:05:30.

To husband John and all family members we extend our profound condolence on their sad loss
Back to content