Tributes paid to two athletics club stalwarts

Les Thain.
Les Thain.

Athletic club Morpeth Harriers are mourning the sad loss of two of their long-serving members.

Les Thain and Tony Ward both died in hospital within the space of 24 hours, which has deeply shocked the club.

Tony Ward.

Tony Ward.

Both had suffered short illnesses, but it is the speed in developments that has saddened many of their close friends.

Les had been a prominent figure at the club for more than 35 years and could easily be regarded as a real character, who livened up many a Monday evening at the clubhouse on Mitford Road.

He regarded the clubhouse as his second home and took it upon himself to carry out required maintenance tasks to ensure that everything was in good order for his fellow members.

Les was inspirational to lots of new members, especially during the so-called running boom during the 80s.

It was his initiative that brought about the club’s Veteran Grand Prix, keeping score for a number of years on a weekly basis.

His own running career was fairly modest, although his name did appear in occasional results, reflecting an age group category.

Tony also gave more than 35 years of service to the club. For much of those years, Tony had served on the club committee.

He was a tough competitor in many road and cross country events and did take part in veteran track and field events.

He has also been a coach to many young athletes, achieving considerable success.

Tony was team manager in a long and successful period for Morpeth Harriers Young Athletes squad. He was also the organiser of a highly successful schools sportshall athletics programme, which further developed towards an annual national event.

He was manager of the clubhouse, and along with the help of Les, saw to it that the club’s needs were fully implemented and regularly maintained.

Deepest condolences from all at Morpeth Harriers are expressed to the close family of the two men at this sad time.

Funeral arrangements will appear on the club’s website when advised.