Forest Gate-born Olympian Jean Pickering dies at 83
- Credit: Archant
One of Britain’s oldest living Olympians who inspired generations of young athletes died on Monday at the age of 83.
Jean Pickering, originally from Knox Road in Forest Gate, won gold in the long jump in the 1954 European Athletics Championship in Berne, competed in the 80m hurdles final in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and she was in the winning 4 x 100m relay team at the 1950 European Athletics Championship in Bruseels.
Jean, who received an MBE from the Queen in 2010, was also married to BBC sports commentator Ron Pickering who passed away in 1992.
It was at his funeral that Jean, along with son and fellow sportsman Shaun, decided to set up the Ron Pickering Foundation to help young people enter the world of competitive sport.
The Foundation worked with Newham & Essex Beagles and helped nurture local talent such as Stratford-born Olympic sprinter Christine Ohuruogu.
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John Letch, Jean’s nephew, said his aunt was waiting for a heart valve operation when she passed away.
He added: “She was just a lovely person and she reached out and helped so many young athletes come through.”
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Tributes from the Athletics world also poured in on Twitter.
Olympic long jumper Chris Tomlinson from Newham & Essex Beagles wrote: “Just found out Jean Pickering has died, what an amazing women and so sad to hear the news, she will be massively missed in athletics.”
European indoor 400m champion Perri Shakes-Drayton from Bow wrote: “Just seen the sad news about Jean Pickering. Love that she supported me and @CoachZah in my junior days. My thoughts are with her family x”
Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton wrote: “I’m just 1 of many athletes who Jean Pickering influenced/helped as a young athlete. She also made amazing apple turnovers! #RIPJeanPickering.”