10 years on. (18/06/2014)

This past month has seen us remembering 2 of athletics hardest working administrators.  Former Birmingham league secretary, and past president Cliff Franks, and Roy Tilling, also a past President, both of whom passed away 10 years ago.

Tom McCook recently wrote this short piece about Roy Tilling, 10 years on from his sudden and unexpected death.

It seems difficult to comprehend that Friday 13 Jun 2014 marks the tenth anniversary of the sudden and unexpected death at the age of 52 years of the then Birchfield Harriers Chairman, Roy Tilling Roy was watching the England versus France Euro 2004 football match on the television when he collapsed in the clubroom.



Later attempts at the City Hospital to revive the 52-year-old, who began his long association with our club as a young teenage runner, proved unsuccessful. Tom McCook, the President of Birchfield Harriers between 2000 and 2012, said the club had been racked with grief at the death of a man affectionately known as ‘Harry Potter Senior’ because of his bespectacled, boyish appearance.

“Roy was a wonderful man who was totally dedicated to our club. “Roy never married and therefore the Birchfield Harriers became his life – the club house was like his second home. “He died surrounded by friends who still miss him dearly.” Roy Tilling had been actively involved in athletics for four decades since joining the Perry Barr club as a Handsworth Grammar Schoolboy, winning Warwickshire and Midland middle distance titles as a teenager. As an eighteen year old in 1971, he stopped the clock in a time of three minutes 49.4 seconds in an Indoor 1500 metres race at the iconic RAF Cosford. 43 years later, this performance still ranks thirteenth in the UK Under 20 rankings. Just before his 21st birthday, Roy ran the sixth leg when the Stags won the prestigious National 12 Stage Road Relay title at Derby in 1973. At an early age Mr Tilling had became involved as an Administrator. He successfully organised the Midland Track and Field Championships for nineteen years, and the AAA of England Championships for fifteen years whilst in full time employment at the University of Aston.

He subsequently worked for UK Athletics (UKA) for several years until three months before his death. The former 5,000 metres World-Record holder David Moorcroft, then Chief Executive of UK Athletics, said: “Roy and I competed together at Youth, Junior and Senior level and were colleagues at UK Athletics for three-and-a-half years. “He was the sort of guy who could never be replaced and his contribution at all levels of the sport, from club through area to national and international level has been immense. “But more than anything else, we still miss him as a friend, ”Roy Tilling’s memory is perpetuated by two annual awards in the Men’s Under 17 age group. One is for Track running and the other for Cross Country running for youngsters who are considered to have made the greatest contribution and effort in the club year.