Athletics: Strollers’ farewell to stalwarts

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Sunderland Strollers said their farewells to two club stalwarts and also gave out long service awards at the club’s annual bash at Silksworth Comrades club last night, writes Kevin Carr.

Bob Blair, the club’s training guru, has decided to call it a day after 22 years of dishing out training sessions to the Strollers membership.

His training ideas, naturally for a man who wields the whip, did not meet with everyone’s agreement, but he must be commended for sticking it out for such a long time despite the usual sarcastic comments!

Paul Dixon announced his retirement from his club duties, which included being the communications officer and away day organiser of transport, as well as bus driver.

He also played a major part in the results service of the Strollers’ Pier-to-Pier race.

He has fulfilled these roles for 15 years.

Dixon and Blair received an engraved tankard for all their work done over the years as a way of appreciation from the Strollers.

Blair’s role will be taken over by Ashleigh Thorpe.

Club chairman Phil Tweddell was also awarded a tankard for more than 25 years service to the club.

He has played a major part in the club’s expansion.

Tweddell also launched the annual popular Pier-to-Pier race which can attract an entry of more than 1,000.

The 2012 race will be run on Sunday, May 20.

Other long service tankards were given to club secretary John Woodward, membership secretary Michael Crozier, and treasurer Phil Watson.

Championship trophies were presented to the various winners. Tim Allsop took the club champion prize, ahead of runner-up Mick Armstrong.

The female club champion is Vicki Booth, with Rachel Ball runner-up.

Other winners – Division One: Tim Allsop; Division Two: Rachel Ball; Division Three: Paul Lewins; Division Four: Anne Kirk; Division Five: Viv Stapely. Most improved: Steve McMahon.