Written by David Barrington
Lionel Wood 1931-2016
The Club is very disappointed to have to announce the death,on May 29th, of former distance runner, Lionel Wood at the age of 85.
Lionel joined Polytechnic Harriers in the 1950s when the many and varied Sports and Social Clubs of Quintin Hogg’s Regent Street Polytechnic mostly had their HQs in the eponymous building up in London W1. There was much scope for joining more than one club and this was certainly the case as the country recovered from WW2.
Lionel was actually initially a member of the Poly Cycling Club,and a follower of other sports,notably cricket,when he approached our VP,Stan Farrow,then a Committee member,asking if he could join the Harriers,as he was seriously thinking of calling it a day with that sport. “I think I’d like to join the Harriers,as I am fed up with falling off my bike!”, Stan recalls Lionel announcing with the lasting humour that epitomised both their sporting lives.
Lionel was never a particularly good athlete,compared to the many internationals then on the Club’s books, but he was very keen and,in particular,he was a regular and enthusiastic participant in many of Poly’s Road Relay teams,as well as competing on the track and country.
In business,Lionel was a Sales Manager with a number of companies in the Food Trade,which entailed much driving around the country,something which he enjoyed immensely.
After retiring from the sport,Lionel kept in touch with other Club members and was always interested to hear how the club was progressing. He and his wife,Joan,were two of the over 400 attendees at the Harriers’ Centenary Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington in the autumn of 1983, and Lionel himself was also present at the Centenary Promotion of the Kinnaird and Sward Trophies match at West London Stadium earlier in that summer and features on the “Team” photo celebrating that Event.
In later years,Lionel and Joan moved from their long-time home in Pangbourne in Berkshire down to Littlehampton in Sussex,where long-time friends,Stan and his wife,Carol, were also living,in nearby Worthing.
Lionel’s Funeral Service was held at the Worthing Crematorium in Findon Valley and,sadly,his wife Joan died less than 6 weeks later and her Service took place at the same venue. Carol and Stan Farrow represented the Club at both Services.
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