The Impressive John Kirkham

Author: John Gilbert (M75 Thrower, VAC)

Its with sad news that we announce that John Kirkham passed away on 11th June 2019 aged 90.

John had been involved in sports all of his life and kept himself very fit. I meet him in 2014 when he joined the gym that I belong to. Everyone was immediately impressed by his fitness, his larger than life personality. He was a native from Bolton and never lost his strong accent, and his eye for the ladies!!

I asked him if he had ever thought of taking up athletics, and would be he be interested in doing so? I should have anticipated his response, “Aye, that sounds fun, I’ll give it a go”! So at the age of 85 John launched into his career in masters athletics with a vengeance!! He was very competitive-always wanted to win. He particularly liked doing regional and national championships and I had the pleasure of escorting him to the national indoor and outdoor champs on several occasions.

John’s sight and hearing were limited so I became his unofficial secretary. He was always such great company, a total gentleman. He had been diagnosed with cancer some years ago and had ongoing treatment. When he competed at the indoors back in 2019, he knew that the cancer had returned and that the final countdown wasn’t too far ahead.  This didn’t stop him really enjoying the whole event and meeting everyone, and especially pleased and proud to win the shot put and set an age group national record.

John At His Best!

(British M90 Record Throws)

One of the things he loved to do when he returned from any championships having won (mostly gold) medals, was to turn up at the gym wearing them all around his neck and parading around. John loved being the centre of attention and the admiration he received particularly from the girls!! He was respected by all that knew him and certainly enriched my life. Unforgettable and irreplaceable.