Tributes paid to ‘legendary’ Bob Smith

“The impact of his work in the sport as a volunteer and a professional will continue to be felt and remembered”

Tributes have been paid to athletics stalwart Bob Smith who has died from cancer.

Smith was manager of the London Region and advised on the founding of LUCA and the London Colleges Athletics Series (now LUCA Outdoors).

As a volunteer and member of England Athletics staff and as a coach and manager at Newham and Essex Beagles, Smith made a huge contribution to the sport.

He held roles at England Athletics including as regional and area manager, while also managing EA’s work during the build-up and period immediately after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Remarkable heights

Smith recognised that the many bodies on the London athletics scene could be encouraged to work in partnership to develop the sport across the capital. He helped instigate a range of activities, including provision of activities for people who had not previously been involved in the sport, support for established clubs, the creation of new clubs where there were gaps in provision and the pioneering of new approaches to facilitating the sport, such as the compact athletics facility developed in Hackney.

The impact of his work in the sport as a volunteer and a professional will continue to be felt and remembered” England Athletics said.

Among those to have paid tribute to Bob are Tony Shiret, who knew Bob through both their shared involvement with Newham & Essex Beagles and Bob’s work for England Athletics in the capital. Tony said, “I have been lucky enough to know Bob from when he was a very average high jumper 30 years ago, over a period when he achieved heights on behalf of our club, Newham & Essex Beagles, and London’s athletes, which were remarkable”.

“At the peak of his powers he assembled one of the greatest club winter teams and inspired/organised a London participation scheme alongside the 2012 Games that involved over 200,000 Londoners.”

An extraordinary person

In club athletics, Smith was fundamental to the development and successes of Newham and Essex Beagles in track and field, road running and cross country. While his involvement often saw him carry the title of ‘team manager’ his support of the athletes at the club was extensive and went far beyond this.

In a statement, the club said: “Bob was an extraordinary person who touched the lives of many with his enthusiasm and unwavering commitment and loyalty and he will be deeply missed. Newham & Essex Beagles AC has been blessed by his association with us and we wish him peace after his long suffering.”

Smith’s family – Jo, James and Janet – said: “We are heartbroken at his loss but it is of great comfort see the affection and respect all had for him.


Funeral details

Wednesday 9 August, 1.15pm in the East Chapel, Southampton (Stoneham) Crematorium, Basset Green Rd, Southampton, SO16 3QB.

All most welcome to attend the service and for light refreshments following; venue to be confirmed.

No flowers please, donations to Princess Alice Hospice, Esher via Funeral Director – Jonathan Terry, 101 Peartree Ave, SO19 7JJ.

A Tribute Service for Bob will be held at a later date, provisionally this will be on Saturday 2 September at Brunel University


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About James Findon 163 Articles
James is the founder of LUCA.