With great sadness we learn of Sir Eddie’s passing, but hopefully he is now chatting track with Harry Wilson, Steve Ovett’s coach, and his travelling companion during those years when British athletes relied so much upon his support.
Obituaries will report his well-known generosity in supporting athletes and their coaches in the period before lottery funding was available and at its height his funding of the sport, both for individual athletes and Belgrave Harriers was extraordinary. Throughout most of this period Sir Eddie had turned to T&FT for the travel and event arrangements of his personal athletics travel and that of the coaches he supported at major events as well as some training camps, especially for Belgrave Harriers young athletes. In working with him it was obvious that his passion for the sport seemed limitless and this was matched by his knowledge: sitting in stadiums around the world he enjoyed chatting with the regular fans that invariably he was among as one of our clients and he impressed those he exchanged views with as he certainly knew his track & field stats. Regular meetings to plan for future events would quickly turn to discussing what was going on in the track and field world as his connections were second to none. A kind and thoughtful man he seemed to both support athletes with obvious talent that needed assistance and also others for more egalitarian reasons. At the major Games and championships he would make sure that those coaches he supported were looked after and he made sure he was also well attended to too.
It was always a pleasure to work with Sir Eddie and there were many memorable moments but one in particular comes to mind that seems apposite to recall at this time from the 1995 Gothenburg World Champs in. In coming out of the stadium the then IAAF President Primo Nebiolo looked across as he boarded his VIP car surrounded by assistants at another equally prestigious car adjacent in the VIP car park with a surprised, almost put out, look on his face as Sir Eddie was getting into his vehicle. As a few track suited coaches got into the car beside him Sir Eddie, ever the gentleman, had a polite exchange with Primo as the IAAF President wondered who on earth it was that was sharing his exclusive experience in this way. It was, of course, “our” Sir Eddie K as important a figure in British Athletics at that period as any, and more modest than most in his understated manner – he was certainly deserving of his position on that and any other day: a wonderful man.
Photo Creator: Mark Shearman | Credit: Mark Shearman