Harriers saddened by death of stalwart

Morpeth Harriers' Ernie Slaughter with Jim Alder at the presentation of the new timekeeper's stand at KEVI. Picture by Hudson Stoker
Morpeth Harriers' Ernie Slaughter with Jim Alder at the presentation of the new timekeeper's stand at KEVI. Picture by Hudson Stoker

Morpeth Harriers have paid tribute to their longest-serving and honorary member, Ernie Slaughter, who died this week at the age of 86.

Ernie passed away in Cramlington Hospital on Wednesday following a fall in which he sustained a head injury and from which he failed to recover.

All at the club, and in the sport of athletics, wish to pass on their sincere condolences to his wife Ruth and his immediate Family at this very sad time.

Morpeth Harriers club secretary, Mike Bateman, said: “We are sad to report the death of Ernie Slaughter, a past president and former secretary of our club. He was just short of his 87th birthday.

“Ernie joined Morpeth Harriers in 1947, shortly after its formation, and soon made an impact as one of the North East’s leading cross-country runners. He was third in the North Eastern Junior Championships in the 1947/8 season and improved to second place the following year. In his first year as a senior, Ernie took the silver medal in the North Eastern and followed that with a bronze (‘52/3), silver (‘53/4) and bronze (‘54/5).

“While still competing regularly, Ernie was elected secretary of the club in 1958, a post he held until 1975. He became president of Morpeth Harriers in 1989 until stepping down from the position in 2008.

“Throughout this period, Ernie also contributed to the sport in the North East as a technical official, regularly judging at cross-country events, road races and track and field meetings whatever the weather. Well-respected for his firm but fair approach, Ernie served as president of the North Eastern Counties Cross-Country Association from 1989 to 1991.

“Even in his 80s, Ernie continued to take a close interest in the Harriers, regularly attending club events and as recently as May, he came along to our Senior Northern League match at the Morpeth track to formally hand over the timekeepers’ stand, to whose cost he had made a major contribution.

“Many generations of Morpeth Harriers owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ernie, not only for the ever-present words of encouragement, but also for his work behind the scenes. A genuinely nice man and a great enthusiast for the sport, he’ll be sadly missed. Our sympathies go to Ruth and the rest of Ernie’s family.”

At this time, the funeral arrangements are still unknown.