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Neville Jones 09/12/1936 - 19/12/2018
Last edited: Sunday December 30th 2018
With great sadness and regret, Warrington Athletic Club reports the passing of the irreplaceable Neville Jones, aged 82. He was found on the morning of our last Walton Gardens cross-country race (8/12/18) after falling at his home and had been in hospital since then.

The club was a massive part of Neville’s life and, after having never married, he devoted his time and effort into mentoring athletes at his beloved track. In the recent words of Nick Jones, Neville was “a true WAC hero”. It was clear to all that his heart was with the club, and, as a result, there was much love and respect for him. Everyone saw Neville as the corner-stone of Warrington Athletic Club – a legend.

Commitment aside, his character, smile and sense of humour will be sorely missed. He maintained his old-school values and witty come backs and always demonstrated a considerable knowledge of athletics. Whatever the weather, Neville would make it to Victoria Park on his bike or, more recently, on the bus. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening, he could be seen laying out the hurdles on the 100m straight and then putting them back in the container when everyone had left.

Neville first visited the track around 1962, confidently commenting to Bert Quennell that he would soon be beating him. He soon became an accomplished middle/long distance runner, including a notable 2 hrs 40 mins marathon performance. This means that Neville has been a part of the club for an incredible 56 years. To put that into perspective, Neville won’t be far off 10,000 visits to the track. Rumour has it that he was seriously contemplating setting up a bed there. He maintained his participation up until 2016, taking part in a many park runs over the last few years and, most recently, a Halewood 5k in support of prostate cancer.

Around 1969, Neville started coaching. Though initially focussed on endurance, it was coaching hurdling where Neville soon excelled. He has coached athletes such as national champion, Jeff Browne, GB representatives James Gladman and Abi Fitzpatrick and more recently, the very successful hurdlers Ashley Kirsopp, Cameron Meakin and Meg Corker.

His current group including Meg Corker, Evie Schofield and Lisa Halliday are heartbroken at his loss. Neville always supported his athletes away from the track by attending their events, quite often getting there on the bus or train.

In addition to his coaching, he also served as Fixtures and Officials Secretary for the club and could always be found on the starting podium as race starter or the finishing gantry as a timekeeper at various meetings. He really enjoyed playing a vital role in the planning and running of the annual schools cross country races at Walton Gardens.

Perhaps Neville’s most notable achievement (as stated by Bert) is the number of children he has kept off the streets/from getting into trouble. His dedication and instruction has provided hundreds of kids with a strong focus and purpose in their lives. Although he would be straight-forward in his ability assessment and made no promises, he was inclusive and guided athletes to genuine improvement. For those less fortunate, Neville has also been known to pay their annual membership fees.

To Neville, our most valued and longest-serving member - rest in peace. The track will never be the same without you. You will be forever remembered in all the club’s future successes. Thank you for all you have done for the club and from athletes new and old.

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