Written by DB
Sadly,I have to advise that our Vice-President Bob Adams,former GB 800m International,Welsh Record-Holder at 1.46.8 and Polytechnic Harriers BAL Team Manager passed away on the evening of 13th October. A tribute follows below.
Clive Williams has also penned a tribute for the Welsh Athletics site - www.welshathletics.org
THE FUNERAL - There was a vastly-moving and well-attended ceremony and tribute to Bob on Friday October 21st at Humber Woodland of Remembrance,Risbury,near Leominster in Herefordshire. Poly Harriers and K&P were represented by Bob's fellow internationals,Nick Overhead,Bob Frith(and Sue),Colin Campbell (and Anne)and Buster Watson along with BAL Team members,Steve Hinchliffe and David Barrington(and Barbara). In keeping with the ethos of a Woodland Field of Remembrance,an Oak will be planted on the first anniverary of Bob's burial.
Extrovert,exuberant,erudite,unpredictable,inventive with language,gung-ho,eccentric even, would be some of the many talents and attributes which could be ascribed to Bob,who so tragically lost his battle with prostate cancer on Thursday evening,13th October at the age of just 69.
Bob was born on 27th May 1942 and,having lost his father in WW2,he spent his early years in Worcestershire and at Wellington College(he was an ‘Old Boot’!). He began to make a mark in athletics with Bromsgrove & Redditch AC and in the Midlands Counties and by the time he moved to London to study architecture at Regent Street Poly,he had stepped up the rungs of 800m to the extent that he was a major force over the distance in the UK. He was selected for the European Indoor Games in Belgrade in 1969 where he set a UK best over 800 in the final(1.49.2) and then for the 1969 European Champs in Athens,where he made the Semi-Finals. His 1.46.8 in Carmarthen that year was a Welsh Record and ranked him 5t=h in the UK All-Time Lists. In 1970,he ran for Wales in the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games,again reaching the Semis. Injuries began to take their toll in 1971,but not before he had won a record 5 consecutive Welsh 800/880 titles.
Thereafter,having joined Polytechnic Harriers from Ealing & Southall AC,and having cut short his course at Regent Street,where he briefly shared digs with members of the nascent pop group Pink Floyd,and switched to interior design,he continued to contribute on the track but shortly embarked on a successful reign as Poly’s National League(now BAL) Track and Field Team in succession to Conrad Martin. These were heady days and Bob’s extreme enthusiasm and effusive,ebullient and sometimes eccentric,approach – aka a wind-up technique for both his own athletes and our opponents!! – served to spread joy and sheer enjoyment throughout the Poly camp.
In due course,Bob met and married Annie and he decided to move to Herefordshire to join his uncle in his interior design business,primarily in pubs and restaurants. Camilla and Ben were born and joined Annie’s boys,Alex and Simon,in what was,undoubtedly,one of the happiest times of Bob’s life. Sadly,Annie succumbed to cancer and Bob reinvented himself working in Marketing and Development for Hereford Cathedral School and harnessed his undoubted wit and erudition to become a writer,including ghosting Pete Bray’s stirring “Kayak Across the Atlantic”.
Running against and with Bob in the Midlands,later sharing a flat with him and Colin Campbell in Richmond,and being part of the BAL team of the 1970s and of mad training weekends at Merthyr Mawr were all experiences I would not have missed for the world and I know I am not the only person whose life has been enriched for being in Bob’s company,even if it meant being unsure what was going to happen next half the time……and being rechristened ‘Brave Darrington’!!!! Some of his other nicknames for his athletes,as well as my wife,Barbara, were equally alliterative and inventive,but not necessarily repeatable in polite company!
Amongst many other things,Bob was also a fervent Welshman,not least when it came to rugby,and one can be sure Wales’ performances to date in the World Cup in New Zealand would have enthused him during his last weeks – maybe,as a tribute to this mad taffy,they can go all the way to the Final!
Grateful thanks,Bob – and may you be reunited in peace with Annie.
Our thoughts are with Camilla,Ben,Alex,Simon and the Family at this saddest of times.
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