id1879-Pat Wilks 14.9.33 – 28.5.17

Written by DRB   

The Club is very sad to announce the death of Pat Wilks,who was a staunch active member of the former Polytechnic Harriers Club for many years.

Pat had been a member of Walton AC & a founder member of Twickenham,eventually joining The Poly in the Autumn of 1962.

He was a particularly vocal,supportive and committed middle-distance runner,who never gave any quarter to opponents,whether from Poly or elsewhere. He was an inveterate trainer and led numerous training sessions across the sloping grass football and hockey pitches on the Field at Chiswick diagonally from the Pavilion to the Railway Line – sessions around 400m plus in both directions,not to be forgotten. John Barnard,our current 3k Steeplechase Record Holder recalls - “ He was an inspiration and when I started beating him after 2 years as a member,it was a sign of my personal improvement; he was always good for a hard session and he taught me the benefit of quality over quantity”.

He was active on any surface,though his best competitive distance was the Marathon. He contested the famous Poly Marathon on many occasions,recording his fastest over the distance on that same course from Windsor to Chiswick of 2h.42.48 in 1966. This mark still ranks at 24th on the K&P All-Time Lists(q.v.)

He was a regular competitior over the country in Poly’s grenat and cream strip,both in Championships and in some of his favourite races such as the Orion 15 Miles,as well as Club races in Richmond Park. This writer recalls some battles,down the field a tad, along with Colin Campbell,at Parliament Hill in the Southern and National CC Champs.

On the track,he was also a formidable club level opponent,even into his days as a veteran,when he blossomed into a substantial performer,as that movement gained increased popularity in the 1970s. Indeed,he has marks to his name over 1500 of 4.12.8 aged 41 and 4.30.6 at 51 years old. You can add to that a 2h.44.38 Marathon at 45 and a 2.16.0 800 also at 51.

In later years when he could no longer compete or train,he was a willing marshal in Richmond Park for Surrey League home fixtures.

He also had a rich vein of patter and humour,from whom no-one was immune.not least those who beat him and,when he became a veteran in 1973,there were precious few of those. His banter topped the ranking lists,but very little would pass the censor on this site. His job as a Rent Officer was a source of much ribaldry,and anecdotes poured forth,not least concerning those living on the large Manor Fields Estate on Putney Hill.

His contributions to the Poly in all areas brought him a much-deserved Vice-Presidency in the Club in the 1980s.

A really good friend to all and sundry,and a thoroughly engaging conversationalist,he was latterly affected by Alzheimers and he passed away on May 29th at the age of 83 from a bout of pneumonia.

Our thoughts are with his wife,Daphne,and all their family.

The funeral is at the South West Middlesex Crematorium,Hanworth at 3pm on June 22nd. Donations to the Alzheimers Association.

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