Roy Humphries 1938 – 2022

Rugby & Northampton Athletics Club are saddened to advise that Roy Humphries passed away this morning, 23rd February.

Roy was an immense figure in the sport of athletics in Rugby and the surrounding area. He was originally a member of BTH Harriers (later AEI Harriers) and was the driving force in the evolution to become Rugby & District Athletics Club in the 1970’s which he served initially as Chairman. His vision led to the building of our clubhouse in 1979, which was the first step towards Rugby Athletic Track being built.

Roy moved to Rugby in the 1950’s to take up an Apprenticeship as a Draughtsman at the BTH factory. He quickly became involved in social and sporting activities, joining BTH Harriers and being active on the organisation of the Rugby Rag. The Rag was a major charity fund-raising exercise included ‘athletic’ events such as the Rugby to Coventry ‘Egg & Spoon’ race. It was during this event in 1958 that Roy first met long time friend and athletics stalwart Stewart Harris. In 1960 Roy was the Chairman of the Rag and his talent for fund-raising let to an outstanding £3500 being raised. Some of that year’s activities went down in local folklore, such as the painting of ‘Home Rule for Crick’ on the railway bridge at Cawston.

As Rugby & District Athletic club grew during the 1970’s, Roy was at the centre of everything, Team Management, Organising events, Publicity, Coaching and Fund Raising. He even found time to compete in a number of ‘Big City’ marathons before they became fashionable.

As an athlete Roy was an endurance runner, however it was as a sprints coach and Team Manager that Roy was best known in recent times. He guided the careers of many budding young sprinters and one his first protege’s was Judy Livermore who competed in the Heptathlon at the 1980 Moscow Olympics as a member of the Club. Later, as Judy Simpson she went on to win the Heptathlon at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. She also went on to find fame as ‘Nightshade’ in TV’s Gladiators. Another athlete whose career he launched was Gary White who went on to win the European U23 Triple Jump title in 2007.

Roy moved from BTH to work as a salesman for Rolls Royce, prior to founding his own company in the 1980’s. It was in this capacity that he was also a generous sponsor to both the club and individual athletes.

When Rugby AC merged with Northampton Phoenix AC to form Rugby & Northampton AC, Roy played a full part in the early years of the new club, serving as Competition Director. He always prepared his athletes to support Club & Championship events which he saw as the lifeblood of the sport.

One of Roy’s ambitions was to make the club both a regional and national force within the sport and he was proud to guide the club into both the men’s & women’s national leagues. His greatest achievement was to take the Ladies team into the top Division Of the UK Women’s Athletic League. He was also delighted when the team reached the National Final of the BAL Gold Cup in 2003 & 2004. The club had truly reached the Top Table of Midlands athletics, a position which it still enjoys.

In latter years Roy worked with a small group of sprinters including Elena Ruddock whom he coached for over 30 years as she won countless County & Area titles.

Roy leaves behind his wife of over 50 years, Val, and his son Marcus.

Memorial details will be shared once they become available

B.Acford – 23rd February

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By ad-bryac / Administrator on Feb 23, 2022