96-year old Ken Bone, Woodford Green Athletic Club's oldest Life Member, passed away at Stirling, north of Edinburgh, in January.
Ken joined the club in 1937, and after his war service years he won the Essex County 440 yards hurdles title on four consecutive years, 1948-51. By then he had become seriously involved in coaching, a field to which he dedicated considerable thought and activity - in an age in which "The Establishment" of our sport tended to think coaches were con-men.
He brought into being indoor club athletics at the Chigwell RAF Station by using their giant barrage baloon hangar. He started a weekly gym workout in the adjacent school, introduced loop film camera technology as an aid, launched residential coaching weekends, lectured around the schools, wrote two technical books and track & field, and was Oxford University coach for four years.
He produced several internationals, including three from our own ranks: Derek Johnson who was pipped to the 1956 Olympic 800m title by less than a foot; Rex Van-Rossom, a good high hurdler; and David Chapman, who missed out on a place in the 1960 Olympic 3000m steeplechase final only in the home straight, when most of GB's middle- and long-distance track men crumpled in the sweltering heat.
Ken had a strong personality and fell out with officialdom at our inaugural Vancouver Trophy in 1956 when he ventured to have us be the first meeting in Britain to start the 800m in lanes - only to have it halted by the Starter as it had not yet been included in the rules.
He worked on making athletes think for themselves and, at his peak, influence the majority of our Track & Field team as well as the backbone of our teams on road and country.
Sadly his influence came to an abrupt end in the early 1960s when he was promoted to a senior managerial post with Scottish Life in Edinburgh.