Obituaries 2014-2015 - Centurions1911

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In Memorium
Centurion Obituaries

Triubutes to Centurions who have passed away 2014 and 2015

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

Obituary Archive

Donald Ernest (Jimmy) James C.421

Known as “Jimmy” James to everyone who knew him, passed away on 31st August 2015.  Jimmy's daughter, Anne-Marie, realised the the Centurions were unaware of his passing after receiving the 2017 Centurions Captains Christmas Newsletter.

Anne-Marie said of her father:

"Jimmy loved his sport. He was a boxer, cricketer, footballer, football referee and a member of the Birchfield Harriers where his passion was race walking and he became the 421st Centurion in July 1968 for walking 100 miles Leicester to Skegness in 22 hours 19 minutes 36 seconds. He also did it again 20 years later when he was 61 years old and 7 minutes faster!
He has walked an amazing 17,893 miles from 1963 until 20 July 1999. When he stopped race walking the last entry in his mileage logbook was "have had to cease race walking due to arthritis of the right knee which has recurred after my knee operation last November!! Feel right down in the dumps!!! So another chapter closes!"

I would be very pleased if you could pass this information onto Eric Horwill, President and anyone else that needs to know, and it would be great if my father could get a mention in a Christmas Newsletter as being a Centurion really meant the world to my father and also he was well known in the race walking circuit by a lot of people."

Jimmy is pictured on the left with some of his race walking friends..

From Dr. Rev. Roy Lodge MBE, 10 January 2018
Although rather belated news I was saddened to hear of Jimmy James death. He was a great character and a real pleasure to know. I remember the year 1968 when he and I took part in the Leicester to Skegness.  Jimmy gained his Centurion status and I withdrew after 20 miles wandering what on earth I was doing walking in darkness!  Nothing to do with theology simply lost interest.!!  He was a great team member along with another Centurion by the name of Karl Abolins.  Both remembered with admiration and affection.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Dr. Rev. Roy Lodge MBE

This tribute is also noted in the 2018 obituaries.

Ken Munro C.370
Ken - a great friend and Centurion stawart died at Inverness Station of a heart attack on 23 December 2015, aged 80, whilst on holiday in Scotland. Ken qualified as a Centurion in 1965 with a time of 20.59.55.
A long serving Cambridge Harrier, Ken was an officer of the RWA Northern Area and had previously served as Centurions' Honorary Secretary and also Merchandising Officer. As Hon.Sec. he took over from Bill Sutherland in 1999, handing on this position on to Chris Flint in 2003.
Ken lived in the North East and travelled south to attend Cambridge Harriers' 125th Anniversary Gala Dinner last year (2015). He also came to lap record at our 2014 Southend-on-Sea AC 100 Miles.
Ken became a Centurion when completeting the 1965 Metroplitan Police 10 X 10 Miles race at Chigwell clocking 20.59.55. That event saw 54 start/30 finish of whom 13 were new Centurions  Others qualifying that day were Len Taylor, Doug Fotheringham, Eddie McNeir & future 1968 Mexico Olympian, the late John Kelly.
Sadly Ken lost his wife a few years' back. Ken was an esteemed Race Walking Association Life Member. Profound condolence is expressed.

Tributes have been pouring in from Centurions:
I am shocked and saddened of the news of Ken's passing. I know many Centurions will also. He was Secretary of The Centurions for a number of years and a great supporter and adviser of long distance events. He was a genuine enthusiast of all things race walking.  Chris Flint.

Ken was a good friend of The Centurions serving in various capacities - Hon.Secretary, Merchandising and was always there to lend a hand and offer advice. He will be sorely missed. Kathy Crilley

Marion and I were so shocked when Ken's son Michael phoned us about the passing of his father. Without Ken the race walking world would probably never have heard about the likes of Ian McCombie, George Nibre or Marion Fawkes as it was he who introduced them to the sport and nurtured them through from Novices to top class athletes. Ken devoted a lot of his time to ferrying his protegees at his own expense throughout the UK so that they could gain experience in events and it's to his credit that so many top walkers emerged from the Tyneside Area in the late 70's and early 80's. A selfless, dedicated man indeed who always had the best interests of our sport close to his heart. Although Marion and George later moved over to benefit from the coaching of Charlie Fogg, both they and Ian have always remained in close contact with Ken and valued his experience and advice both in life/sport balance and maintaining enthusiasm for our beloved sport.  In passing, Race walking has lost a true friend and asset. Peter & Marion Fawkes

Sorely missed like all of his ilk. Ed Shillabeer

As a competitor and an official he was a true stalwart of our sport and very good company to boot. The 1965 '100' deserves to go down in history as one of the tougher races at which to qualify. Ten laps of the Chigwell course was not for the faint hearted. Alex Ross

Ken  was a true Centurion in so many ways. I remember seeing him on the Chigwell Road in 1965 when I saw my first Centurion race and still to this day cannot understand how so many completed such an unforgiving course. I will never forget the click-clock sounds of the Dutch competitors who were wearing clogs! Ken gave so much to the Centurions throughout his lifetime and will always be remembered for his jovial smile and manner. God Bless. He and his family are much in our thoughts at this sad time. Kath and Bill Sutherland

I am sorry to hear the sad news that Ken Munroe C370 has passed away. He contributed to the Centurions in many ways, serving as Secretary and Merchandising Officer for a while. He qualified race as a Centurion on the tough course at Chigwell in the impressive time of 20.59.55. He made a significant contribution to our sport and will be missed. Sue Clements C950

From Facebook posts:
Just hear the sad news Ken Munro passed away 23 December. Graham Jackson, Northern Racewalking
Sad news R.I.P. Ken  Guy Goodair
A little man with a BIG heart and sense of humpir. Alan Buchanan
R.I.P. Ken. John Howley
R.I.P. Ken. Julie Belfield

Kathy Crilley C933, Captain.
Harry Holmes C303

From Mick Holmes C 717.
It is with deep regret that I report that at the age of 86 Harry Holmes Jnr C303 crossed life's finishing line.
He died in the evening of Tuesday 18 August and the next morning was found by his son Michael (as he always called him) when paying his daily morning visit to his home where he lived alone.
For many months he had suffered thyroid cancer which was speading to other parts of his body. He was attended by MacMillan nurses and the due diligence of Mick and his daughter in law Ann.
Although offered care in a hospice his wish was to stay in his own surroundings at home.
He became a Centurion in 1960 in the Leicester to Skegness in the colours of Yorkshire Walking Club following in the footsteps of his father Harry Holmes Snr C104 and encouraged his son to follow with Mick C 717 completing a trio of Holmes Centurions in 1982.
Harry was an ever present supporter of the Bradford 50 kms as the race passed his house and with Mick he attended me in my efforts to win this prestigous race.
He was a reliable club man and took great pride in the team successes he had , none more so than his National 100kms team gold with Boundary Harriiers in 1981.

Writes Bob Dobson:
To his family, especially his son Mick and daughter Heather, we send our sincere condolences. Others may like to do so via email to or Mick and Ann Holmes 27 Midland Rd, Baildon,Shipley, West Yorkshire BD 17 6 AT.

From Muray Lambton:
I had lost touch with Harry but I shared some special times with him when he joined Boundary Harriers are supported Graham Young and I to win several team awards.

Sadly Ireland-based former Centurions' Captain Charlie Weston has passed on aged 81.  Charlie passed away peacefully in his sleep at 11.00 p.m. on Saturday 18th July.
The genial Highgate Harrier, with a great sense of humour, became a top UK 100 Miles competitor when winning over that distance on Colchester Garrison Track at a very cold September 1985 event when clocking 19.21.40, being 66 minutes' ahead of the 2nd finisher. Sponsored by BT, it was a curious race with 3 events combined : 100K/100 Miles/24 Hours. Oddly the 100 Miles race seemed lost as most interest was shown on a truly fast 100K & an epic 24 hours.The 100 miles race didn't get the attention it merited as confusion reigned. Looking back at records, it was proved Charlie had led at 100 Miles...but not until The Centurions' 1997 Dinner at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly did he receive an award to recognise this! Confusion and doubt saw a long discussion at The Centurions 1985 AGM about accepting new Centurions...but after debate, all were admitted.
harlie completed 4 sub-24 hours UK 100 miles races having qualified as Centurion 584 in the 1976 Leicester-to-Skegness when clocking 18.29.14. He twice won a testing Isle of Man 85 Miles Parish Walk, breaking the tape in 1989 & 91 recording 18.17.55 & 17.46.58 (Gordon Vale, 17.55.10, won the race in between). Charlie was an Isle of Man regular, often being interviewed on race days for television coverage. The small screen brought him, and race walking, to the attention of millions. When Bachelors introduced instant packet soup, their ITV advert featured an athlete race walking through torrential rain...then when indoors enjoying a cup of instant soup as a voice-over slogan boomed, "Bachelors Soup...So Good To Come Home To". It was Charlie...however in strictly amateur days, he waived an appearance fee, with it being donated to an Athletics organisation.
In 2006 Charlie was elected as a Centurions Vice President. We all have fond memories of a great athlete and a great character.
Dave Ainsworth

Writes Bob Watts: Charlie had a unique claim to fame, in that he was the first man in 10,000 years to walk from France to England. I have somewhere a video showing him emerging in his union jack shorts from the channel tunnel at the end of "Le Walk 91" until he was pulled back to allow the so called "celebrities" to come through. R.I.P. Charlie"

We too are very sorry indeed to hear about the passing of Charlie Weston, C584. Race-walking and English sport have lost a respected, admired and much-loved athlete, and we have all lost a warm and dear friend. Charlie served the Centurions as Captain with dedication and enthusiasm for several years, and was a great ambassador for our sport wherever he went. Our thoughts are with Rosetta and the family.
Sandra and RichardBrown C735, C760

My recollections of Charlie were that he was a Clubman through and through for Highgate Harriers and flew the flag for Centurions as many members before and since had achieved this remarkable feat. Regular Club Meetings were warmly held in Stanhope Road, Hornsey and later on he welcomed many race walkers to his home in Eldon Avenue, Wood Green. To me what was really remarkable was that he really trained for his outstanding successes as a Centurion. In former days one could rely on races held weekly and increasing in distance month by month to prepare one to attempt to become a ‘Centurion.’ That was not Charlie’s way as one Summer evening he set out with the Great Belgravian distance walker Ray Middleton and myself for a 9 hour overnight stroll from Hendon Copthall Fields in preparation for the yearly Centurion 100 Miles Walk and was walking as strongly at the finish as he was at the start. Great memories indeed as he now ‘Rests in Peace’ in the company of so many outstanding Past Centurion Brothers and Sisters. Always fondly remembered.  Kath and Bill Sutherland BEM

I'm sorry to hear that Charlie Weston has taken his leave of us, although undoubtedly had a 'good innings'. I first met Charlie when I started race walking in the late 1960s - he was one of the 'fast boys', though clearly even then had a talent for the 'long one's' - 12th in the 1970 London to Brighton (a certain Dave Ainsworth was 38th - 81 starters/61 finishers) and he was 4th in the Hastings to Brighton. I can also remember having a few beers with him at Woodford Green 4 days after the '100' at Colchester in 1985. He was always good company.  Martin Oliver
C 693 John Errington
The death, after a long illness, is reported of Centurion 693 - popular John Errington, 76, of York Postal Walking Club. His club were once big players in distance walking, and in their colours he completed the 1980 Leicester Walking Club/Congerstone 100 Miles in 20.20.58.
John was one of The Centurions' keenest members, rarely missing functions or AGMs. Wherever held, he'd always arrive immaculately dressed with collar and tie + shining badge in a lapel button hole. He enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie of Post Office-in-Uniform races, which were then held in various parts of the British Isles. On start lines his smartly pressed uniform, collar, tie & cap stood out! John attended the House of Commons for our memorable Centenary Dinner. Our 2013 AGM in the Union Jack Club saw him rise to tell the gathering he had terminal cancer and firmly predict he wouldn't be around by the time of our next AGM. Fortune proved John's prediction erroneous; as he was still with us (though not fit enough to travel) when our AGMs were held in 2014 (Birmingham) & 2015 (Southwark). A sad loss of a truly popular and active member who'll be much missed by The Centurions, York Postal WC & the Post Office. Condolence is expressed.
From York Press:
John Cyril 'Erro' ERRINGTON died on June 14th, 2015. Much loved dad of Louise, dearly loved partner of Phyllis and a dear brother and brother-in-law.
We're sorry to report the death on May 24th, in Ipswich's St.Elizabeth Hospice after a long illness, of Squadron Leader Mike Perkins, aged 78 and Centurion No.490. Mike was regularly selected by legendary RAF Team Manager Dickie Bird (Centurion 225) as a Royal Air Force Representative athlete in the 1960/70s and often raced the 7 Miles match v Metropolitan Police and also the Ryan Cup (then over 10 Miles). Like many Armed Forces walkers of that era, he belonged to Trowbridge AC - a feared name at the time. He had a deal with another Trowbridge RAF walker, the late and aptly-named Larry Miles. They'd agreed to enter the 100 Miles' Leicester-to-Skegness Walk with one attending and the other walking. Larry hit the road first, becoming Centurion 454 in 1970 clocking 21.51.30 as Mike attended; while 2 years' later it was Mike who finished in 20.05.32 to become Centurion 490 with Larry doing the driving. What a sight they made, as both sported fine traditional RAF handlebar moustaches! Mike always acknowledged how hard it was to drive for such a long period while attending and admired those who do this task time-and-time-again!. Mike enjoyed the challenge of a London-to-Brighton Walk on the traditional 1st Saturday of September. When The Centurions issued a questionnaire and "floated" an idea that those not returning it would be removed from mailing lists, Mike blew a fuse and sent a stinging letter of criticism to be read at an AGM in the austere Holloway Community Centre. "What's the use of having a Brotherhood if you're cast aside for not replying to a questionnaire" he wrote...obviously not realising Centurions had esteemed lady members by then! The AGM accepted his views, so all remained on their mailing list.
Mike was often seen at our walking occasions, attending all the Colchester 100s in Lower Castle Park plus both the 300th & 400th Essex League races (the latter being the 2001 John Hedgethorne Memorial race at Springfield) . Like all, Mike admired the efforts of both John Hedgethorne & Jerry Everett, and attended both funeral services.
To Barbara, Craig and Grant plus all other family members, we express our condolence on the loss of a true worthy.
Dave Ainsworth C540
Geoff Peters (C 20)
To all Australian Centurion members and friends
It is my sad duty to advise the death of South Australian centurion Geoff Peters (C 20) on Monday 21 February 2015.
Geoff, aged 88, and his wife Pat were both actively involved in athletics for over 60 years. Geoff started walking in 1942 when aged 15 and was, until his retirement a few years ago, the longest serving registered athlete and official in South Australia.
Like most men of his age, his sporting career was interrupted by the Second World War and he enlisted and served out his time like everyone else.  Once the War had finished, he returned to civilian life and restarted his stalled athletics career. He was Club Captain for many years at Western Districts and won the State hammer throw in 1950. He eventually moved to distance and endurance events, running a marathon in 1956 and taking part in the Western Districts 1959 Adelaide to Port Pirie Relay event. He had success in the walks over a long period but, in 1980, he completed what he regarded as his greatest achievement, becoming Australian Centurion number 20 with a 100 miles time of 23:34:10 on the old Adelaide Harriers cinders track in Adelaide. To his wife Pat and to his family, we offer our condolences.
Tim Erickson, Secretary Australian Centurions
C-377 Hendrik Jan Doornekamp
Writes Piet Jansen:
Henk passed away on 12th February. He was a very famous walker on his clogs all over the world. Running many marathons and even 35 times the 100 km running Winschoten. After each 100 miles in GB he gives his clogs to the organisation of the race. Henk participated in the following races:
1965 Chigwell 23.03.15
1966 Leicester-Skegness 22.38.36
1967 London-Brighton 23.10.04
1968 Leicester-Skegness 23.44.36
1969 Bristol 18.54.15
1970 Leicester-Skegness 24.14.31
1974 Leicester-Skegness 23.53.42
1978 Leicester-Skegness  23.51.00
Brian Copp C.622
Weymouth-based Centurion No.622 Brian Copp, aged 80, passed away in hospital on Sunday from pneumonia.
A member of Weymouth St.Paul's Harriers, he qualified as a Centurion in mid-October 1977 when completing the last ever Bristol 100 Miles in 23 hours 31 minutes and 9 seconds. That race saw 84 start and 56 finish, among them 29 new Centurions. Among those new Centurions were our first lady member, C599 Ann Sayer (now President) and the late Dianne Pegg C608. Other qualifiers that day included still active respected official and Vice President Jack Thomas C606, Surrey's Gordon Peddie C605 and Enfield's Peter Emery C625. "Mr.Starter" for that race was His Grace The Duke of Beaufort who set them on their way to compete over a truly testing 10 X 10 Miles circuit with one particularly wicked and seemingly never-ending hill towards the end of each circuit. Race winner, for a second successive year, was legendary Manxman Derek Harrison C466 in 17 hours and 43 minutes. One of Brian's prized photographs was one with feet in the air, covered in blisters, after completing 100 miles!
By profession Brian was a sports reporter for the Dorset Echo and trained frequently with potential Centurion Geoff Hunwicks (who tried unsuccessfully to become a Centurion at Bristol 1973 & Ware 1997). Brian and Geoff were also in the same pub skittles team. Brian enjoyed the annual, but sadly now defunct, Weymouth Seafront Open 10K and travelled all over the South West to make start lines. Last year Brian suffered a bad fall outside his Church and for a long while needed 2 walking sticks to get about. Brian donated the Copp Cup to Weymouth St.Paul's Harriers and turned up every year to opresent it in person to the Club's best junuior athlete...his son has vowed to contiune the tradition by presenting this annual award himself.

Writes Dave AInsworth:
To find more information about Brian, Google "Dorset Echo + Ron Jones". The first pick should be a tribute to Ron Jones (who died last year) written by Brian, and featuring a picture of Brian and the late Harry Callow (both proudly wearing their Centurion badges).
Steve Jordan (C 64)
From Tim Erickson, Australia
It is my sad task to pass onto our Centurion walking fraternity the news that Australian Centurion Steve Jordan (C 64) died 15 December after a battle with cancer. Steve was also well known to the wider racewalking and fun run communities in Melbourne as he had been a semi-regular walker in our Victorian Race Walking Club road races since around 2008 and a regular fun run attendee throughout Victoria. His last race was in the 6 Hour event at our 2014 Australian Centurions 24 Hour Carnival in October. He was already very ill by that stage but wished to participate in the sport that he loved as long as he could.
It was only in June of last year that he joined the ranks of the Australian Centurions as C-64, walking 100 miles in less than 24 hours in the Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour event in Sydney. Who could have guessed what was lurking around the corner. At that stage I published a short biography on Steve what makes for inspirational reading:
It makes us realise the fragility of life and the precious nature of our relationships with our friends.
R. C. Whittle C.335
Robert (Bob) was the only member of Stourbridge Wordsley & District Harriers to qualify as a Centurion completing the Leicster to Skegness 1962 race in 23hrs 12min43sec. Following the merger of SW&DH and Dudley Harriers in 1963 he completed the 1964 Leicster to Skegness accompanied by C367 Jim Skidmore in 23hrs 2min55sec as a member of Dudley & Stourbridge Harriers.
Bob was also an accomplished cross country and road runner. He was known as the "Iron Man" as he frequently completed the night shift at Round Oak Steel Works prior to competing - this included his Centurion walks.
Tom Tidy C298
Tom passed away earlier this week. He was 87. His funeral is to take place at Henfield, West Sussex at 12 noon on Thursday 4th. December.
Tom qualified as a Centurion in the 1959 London to Brighton and back race in 22.02.26 as a Steyning AC club member. He was always a great supporter of the Centurions and was a generous donor to our funds.

Chris Hayes
A member of Cambridge Harriers, Chris qualified as a Centurion at the SWC 1979 Ewhurst 100 mile race, when 107 started with 37 becoming new Centurions. His time of 23.55.15 got him listed among "the slowest" in the Centurions' Handbook...though many say that list contains names of those "with good pace judgement".
Chris worked as a House of Commons chef and was well known to those at the popular series of Blackheath 9K Handicaps. Condolence is expressed to his family.
Wim Mansveld C.411
Born: 3rd August 1924 Died: 24th June 2014
Wim became Centurion in 1967 during the 100 mile contest from London to Brighton and back (22.22.08) and obtained the number 411. He successfully took part in it 14 times. From 1970 till 1992, Wim was a member of the Committee of the Centurion Vereniging Nederland.
During his active walking years, Wim was a well-known figure. Especially with Long-distance walking, he was there in life and soul. He did Nijmegen-Rotterdam (including Brussel-Rotterdam) 26 times between 1949 and 1990. He walked Amsterdam-Leeuwarden 27 times. Also the Mergellandroute and “the Night of Loon op Zand” were well-known territories for Wim. All the years that Wim participated in the “Zeeuwse Driedaagse”, which he did with some other well-known walkers, are unforgettable. Until 1990, Wim walked the 4-day from Nijmegen, 58 times which made him “top-scorer” with RWV.
Wim met his wife, An, in later age. She spent many years walking with him. While Wim walked along with long, restful strides, it was fun to see An taking smaller steps at great speed to keep up with him. In 1987, An also became a Centurion. Coincidentally, with the centurion-number which was exactly double of Wim’s number, the number awarded to her was C-822.
Wim was a member of the RWV since 1966 and it was noticeable how Wim and his wife, An, always represented the RWV in their immaculately white RWV shirts. Unfortunately, An passed away in 2007. We send family and friends strength in their great loss.
Gerrit Cozijn C.407
Gerrit qualified in 1966 and twice completed the 100 miles.

Cliff Royle C148
Cliff passed away on 23rd January, peacefully at home,
Cliff was a great player - as an ambaasdor for the Centurions and also as an exponent of the ukele. How we enjoyed his playing at our Centurions renunion dinners over the years!
Cliff qualified a s Centurion at the Yorkshire Walking Club 24 hour race at Bradford in 1949 in a time of 21 hours 41 mins 23 secs.

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