Coity Crematorium, 10.30am Thursday 6th September
It is with great sadness that Welsh Athletics records the death of Viv Thomas on 30th August. With his passing, the sport in Wales has lost a unique individual who had been involved in athletics in one form or another for 65 years. His contribution to the sport of athletics from grass roots to the international stage has been immense.
Viv trained as a teacher and taught in both secondary and primary schools. Most of teaching career was spent in the Rhondda. He always spoke with enthusiasm when describing his role as a Deputy Head in a primary school and in particular the talented pupils that he taught.
During his early years as a technical official he was mentored by the late Ray Thomas. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Viv together with the late Phil Davies and Howard Shortman did a great deal to promote the development of field events throughout Wales up until the past few weeks.
Although he was best known as a Field Event official, he was also a well qualified track official and consequently he was much sought after as a multi events referee throughout the UK.
He was one of the principal Welsh officials for many years having officiated at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, European team championships, numerous Great Britain international matches, AAA and UK Championships, many of the latter as field events referee as well as officiating at Welsh championships for over 60 years.
According to one of his colleagues, when officiating he firmly adhered to the rule book but always had an excellent working relationship with athletes.
His presence at athletics matches will no doubt be remembered for his insistence on appearing in shorts – whatever the weather!
He was closely involved with Welsh schools athletics and was their chief official at many championships over the years. In fact he had been involved with Welsh schools athletics since the very first championships in 1947, albeit as a competitor!
Amongst his other sporting activities, he was a senior WRU referee and took charge at many first class games.
He was awarded a meritorious plaque for services to Welsh athletics in 1982, and then received the Association’s Award of Honour in 2003 which is only awarded to those individuals who have given exceptional service to the sport in Wales
Viv was essentially a family man and he and his late wife Eirwen were very proud of their children and their grandchildren.
Individuals like Viv Thomas come along once in a lifetime and we will never see his like again. Athletics generally, and particularly in Wales will be the poorer for his passing.
The Principality and Athletics has lost a true gentleman and will be poorer for it. I first met Viv on one of his frequent trips to the Midlands over 30 years ago. He and the late Paddy Wallace –what a pair- came to write reports on Midland officials.
He was always a pleasure to work with-thoroughly hard working ,reliable and willing to help out. He played by the rule book but always had an excellent working relationship with athletes.
Viv was a raconteur par excellence and kept us spellbound for hours with his stories-sometimes into the early hours.
One thing that Viv will be remembered for was his dress sense-no matter what the weather, venue or meeting, he wore his trademark shorts. Only once in our long time together can I remember him wearing trousers-they built them tough in the Rhondda.
Life treated Viv a cruel blow but at least he is back with his beloved Eurwen-the inseparable two. She and God needed him badly and he answered the call.
Rest in peace Viv-a man I can honestly call a true butty. I learned a lot from you and my thanks for that. I and athletics will miss you.