Following the sad passing of Welsh Athletics Vice President John Collins, the following tribute has been provided by Swansea Harriers President Barrie Owen.
It is with deep regret that we pass on the news that Welsh Athletics & Swansea Harriers Life Member John Collins passed away on Sunday morning. John was one of the most important volunteers in the sport of athletics. If you've ever run in a Gwent or West Glamorgan cross country league match, a road race or represented your club in a track & field fixture at any age group for whichever club you were a member of, you can bet that John has been there volunteering and supporting you, most likely as one of the key organisers too. John was not only heavily involved at matches, he has sat on numerous committees for leagues, clubs and Welsh Athletics.
John had been a volunteer and athlete since 1955 in his original club Vale of Aylesbury. John has been a volunteer and official for Swansea Harriers undertaking numerous roles since 1970. He was instrumental in the formation of the Pontypool and district cross country league the forerunner of the Gwent Cross Country League.
In 1963 he won the Welsh 6 mile cross country championships and has competed for Wales 6 times.
In the 1970s he was one of the founders and secretary of the Welsh Men's Athletics League.
At various times he has served as secretary of the Welsh Cross Country Association and Cross Country Committees of Athletics Association of Wales/Welsh Athletics. He has been a representative on the ICCU and later on the British Athletics Federation cross country committees. He was president of Welsh Athletics from 2004 to 2006.
He was awarded a meritorious plaque for his services to the Athletics Association of Wales in 1970 and their award of Honour in 1996 and a lifetime achievement award in 2009.
Carol Anthony, the Chair of Welsh Athletics commented: "Welsh Athletics has lost an icon of our sport. John’s dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and loyalty to all aspects of athletics was outstanding. He used his vast experience and knowledge to help move the sport forward and was always enthusiastic and supportive of new ideas. His commitment as a volunteer is unparalleled and athletics in Wales has lost a wonderful Vice President, adviser, mentor and great friend. We will cherish all the qualities that John gave to our sport. He will be greatly missed but will always be remembered with respect and gratitude for all he gave to Welsh Athletics over many many years."
The current President of Welsh Athletics, Lynette Harries commented: "Welsh Athletics, the Swansea Club and the West Region have lost a most loyal member and friend. John's contribution to athletics in Wales over a time span of sixty years has been immense. My earliest memories of John is of an endurance athlete who was always proud to represent his club, his county and Wales. Over the years John was able to combine his love for competing with a range of roles within our sport . He served the sport as president, vice president, as a committee member at all levels, an administrator, team manager and as a technical official. John was a founder member of the Gwent League, a co-author of the History of Welsh Athletics and played a significant role in the development of Masters Competition in Wales. John's contribution to Welsh Athletics was recognised in 2009 when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award. John portrayed all that is good about our sport and I am proud to have worked with him over the years. My sincere condolences to Liz and the family."
The funeral will take place on Monday, 19th June at 2.40pm at St Hilary’s Church, Killay, then to Llanelli Crematorium at 4pm, followed by refreshments at Sketty Hall at 5.30pm for family and friends.
Donations to Ty Olwen or Prostrate Cancer UK