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Tributes are paid to legendary Newham & Essex Beagles man

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 August 2017

Bob Smith gets his point across

Bob Smith gets his point across

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Beagles stalwart Bob Smith has died after a lengthy battle with cancer

Bob Smith kisses Christine Ohuruogu after she won gold at the Beijing OlympicsBob Smith kisses Christine Ohuruogu after she won gold at the Beijing Olympics

Tributes have poured in to Newham & Essex Beagles following the death of club stalwart and legend Bob Smith last week.

Bob finally lost his brave fight with cancer last Wednesday and people from all over the athletics community were quick to pay homage to the man.

“Such a lovely man, one of a kind,” tweeted World and Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu. “Had all the time in the world for ALL the athletes and is a major loss to Newham and Essex Beagles. RIP BOB.”

British 400 metre record holder Iwan Thomas also paid tribute saying: “Very sad to announce just months after the passing of my coach Mike Smith that his son Bob lost his battle against cancer last night.”

Bob Smith, Mo Farah and a trophy winning Beagles teamBob Smith, Mo Farah and a trophy winning Beagles team

Beagles’ club patron Tony Shiret knew Bob throughout his time at the club as well as at England Athletics and he paid a special tribute to his ‘friend’.

“I am lucky enough to have known Bob from when he was a very average high jumper 30 years ago, over a period when he achieved heights on behalf of the club and London’s athletes which were remarkable,” he said.

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

“Throughout all this time he was one of those unique people who were incredibly knowledgeable, enthusiastic, supportive and loyal and this made people want to turn out which is a rare gift.

“He was the heartbeat of our club and a great man and we are already missing him.”

Bob’s family, Jo, James and Janet thanked everyone from the athletics world who had supported him during his illness.

“We are heartbroken at his loss, but is of great comfort to see the affection and respect all had for him.

“Bob followed his family ‘trade’ in athletics, but to us he was not just Bob the athletics man, but also an incredibly caring, kind and loving son, father and brother. We will miss you Bob and will try to be as strong as you were.”

The Beagles also made a statement saying: “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.”

British paralympian Noel Thatcher tweeted: “I only saw Bob at work (he was having treatment where I work) a few weeks ago. He was his usual buoyant self and we had a great chat about the current state of athletics. A true gentleman and a passionate ambassador for athletics at every level.”

That seems to have been a unanimous view of everybody knew him. He will be a great loss to the Beagles and to athletics in general.

What a great shame that he was no able to stay and watch the World Championships on home ground.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday, August 9 at 1.15pm at the East Chapel of Southampton Crematorium and all are welcome, while arrangements for a separate memorial in London will be announced soon.

RIP Bob.


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