Written by DB
A tribute to Doug who died on October 18th 2010,aged 90.
There will be a Thanksgiving Service for Doug's Life on Friday,November 19th at 2pm at St Bartholomews Church,King Alfred Place,Winchester(near the Station).
Kingston & Polytechnic suffered a further sad blow on Monday,October 18th with the death,in Winchester,at the age of 90, of 1948 Olympic 1500 metres competitor,Doug Wilson.
Doug joined ‘The Poly’ just before WW2,missing out,as many did,on some of his likely better years in his early 20s. However,during war service,he continued to race where possible,as well as keeping the Harriers going despite the limited competition. Once the war ended,he was able to blossom as one of the leading middle distance competitors in the UK,breaking the English one and half mile record,and winning the AAA Mile title in 1946.
Doug was also very active in the recruitment market for the Club,in particular chasing a number of overseas athletes who had served in the British Forces around the country for their signatures on the Maroon Form! Amongst these were Emmanuel MacDonald Bailey,Arthur Wint and Les Laing,each an Olympic medalist at the first two celebrations after the conflict in 1948 and 1952. Doug himself ran at Wembley over 1500 metres for Great Britain and had also done so in the 1946 European Championships in Oslo; he achieved his best 800/1500 times of 1m53.4/3m51.6 in 1950 and these still rank him in the top twenty-five All-Time K&P performers.His 1500 best was achieved at Norrkoping in Sweden,and some will recall the Womens Norrkoping Trophy,the sister trophy to the Sward at Poly's Chiswick HQ. He had other PBs of 4.11.4(Mile) and 14.34.6(3 Miles),as well as placing 4th in the USA's AAU 1500m in 1951.
After his active career ended,Doug became a journalist with the News of the World,then great supporters of athletics,particularly at the White City. In this role he covered the next four Olympic Games,and eventually became the newspaper’s Advertising Manager. On retirement in 1985,he became the Press Officer of the Sports Aid Foundation and,when he retired again in 1993,he took over the editorship of The Olympian,a magazine that goes out to all those who have represented GB in any sport at an Olympics. In fact,Doug died at 4pm,exactly at the time that a meeting was being held in London to plan the next issue of the magazine,to which he had given so much time and energy.
He remained extremely interested in club matters,even after the merger in 1985, throughout his life,served a period as President in the 1980s,was elected a Life Member and was always there for your present General Secretary when advice was required.
Doug was also always without fail an incomparable enthusiast of athletics and right up until his death he was in much demand to impart his substantial knowledge of the sport to all and sundry,not least many athletics historians including K&P’s own.Indeed,he and athletics author David Thurlow had met every week for the last 10 years!
Above all,he was a gentleman and a professional in terms of how he conducted himself,attributes all too absent in recent times; the Sports Journalist website recalls how he was well-known for always being encouraging and helpful to all youngsters reporting athletics for the first time.
The SJ site also writes that he also retained his enthusiasm for the Olympic Ideal. Interviewed by the BBC in 2008,he called for the 2012 London Games to try to restore the proper Olympic spirit – “London should go back to basics,the simplicity of the Games”,he said. “They should make it more idealistic,and not just nation against nation. They should try to put over the Olympic Ideal.”
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