Don Talbot 1931 – 2017

I first met Don in the mid 1950s when joining Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, writes Alistair Patten. Our winter Saturday afternoon runs were from working men’s clubs in the Accrington area near where Don lived on Avenue Parade. After the run whilst waiting for the mud to dry we were served tea in pint glasses. Summer runs on a Wednesday evening were from pubs in the local area and this is where we headed for the hills chasing after Stan Bradshaw followed by pints of beer. When Don and I worked in Blackburn we would often meet up at Witton Park for a run at lunchtime – a 5 mile run, quick shower then eat a sandwich whilst getting dressed.

Don TalbotDon took up orienteering and took part in the first event in England from Whitewell on the 24th November 1963 and was one of the 15 finishers. In 1964 South Ribble OC was formed and Don became a founder member of the first orienteering club in the country.

In 1965 Don took part in his first Three Peaks race and by 1995 had completed 22 races. Unknown to many Don also took part in the annual Three Peaks cyclo cross race and won the over 50s prize once. As Don favoured the tougher challenges he competed in the Fellsman Hike as a member of The Rucksack Club. When the Fell Runners Association was formed he became a keen member and from 1965 he finished in 25 of the annual Mountain Trials. After retiring from running Don volunteered for checkpoint duties.

He became a member of the BG club in 1971 with a time of 22 hours 17 minutes and became member number 7. Don was always a keen rover scout and took part in annual meets. For his services to scouting he was awarded King Scout.

Don became a munroist number 2692 in 2001 after completing the munros, tops and firths. I travelled to Ireland with him in 2001 along with a small group of his friends to polish off the last peaks. Don loved the Scottish mountains and in February each year we headed north with a group of hardy Clayton stalwarts. One year in Glencoe we were traversing a steep slope when there was a loud crack and an avalanche swept past us, we crept out of danger and decided to abort the climb. Arriving back at the YHA at midday we found an open door and due to the cold all got into our bunks. Don had acquired an ex RAF pilot’s survival suit which he was using as a sleeping bag but looked more like a Michelin man. Our laughter alerted the warden so we ere kicked out until the official 4 pm. As everybody knows Don could sleep for England.

My favourite memory of Don was in 1969 when we took part in the 2nd two day mountain marathon from Limefitt Park. On the first day I had a bad fall in some old quarry workings and gashed my hand. Don thought we should retire but at the overnight camp managed to get proper first aid. On the second day we made good progress and as we were approaching The Tongue Don dropped back on the climb. He was completely drained of energy and showing the whites of his eyes. After giving him glucose and sugary food he recovered and on the run in to the finish he left me behind. As we were lying 4th our kit had to be inspected but we could not light our stove as we had lost our matches. Frank Travis was about to disqualify us when Don flew into a violent rage complaining about Brasher’s kit which he thought was illegal. During this outburst from Don and amid all the confusion some kind person dropped a box of matches on the floor for us. Have never known Don to lose his temper like that – maybe he was on a sugar overdose.

Honorary member Donald Talbot died on Tuesday 21st November, aged 86. A Service of Thanksgiving took place on Thursday 30th November at 1 pm at Fullwood Methodist Church, Watling Street Road, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8EA.

Monica Shone 1926 – 2017

Monica, age 91, died on 7th August from complications following a hip operation. She had been a member of Clayton since 1984, and in 2011 was awarded honorary membership of the Club in recognition of her considerable sporting achievements.

Born in Cardiff, South Wales, Monica qualified as a PE teacher and quickly showed her talent for sport, playing lacrosse for Wales, and captaining the Sussex ladies’ cricket team. Her love of the outdoors led her eventually to take up rock climbing, skiing, sea kayaking and mountaineering, becoming an instructor in both Scotland and Wales.

Coledale Horseshoe 1985

Coledale Horseshoe 1985

Monica took up running relatively late in life after operations on her toes, and despite having several marathons and road races under her belt, quickly discovered that fell running in her beloved outdoors was preferable to pounding tarmac. She competed at all distances on the fells including races such as Pendle, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Fairfield, Langdale Horseshoe, Coledale  and many others. Monica was an enthusiastic club member and enjoyed being part of the Clayton ladies’ teams for the Coast to Coast and Ian Hodgson Relays.

Monic transferred her running talent to cross country and track, and was successful at short and middle distance races, gaining many wins and medals in her age group, breaking records in both Britain and Europe, and competing well into her late 70’s.

Wendy Dodds, Linda Lord and Monica Shone in 1992 on Seatallan, near completion of Monica's Joss Naylor Traverse.

Wendy Dodds, Linda Lord and Monica Shone in 1992 on Seatallan, near completion of Monica’s Joss Naylor Traverse.

Perhaps Monica’s most notable achievement, and the one for which she would wish to be remembered, was her successful crossing in 1992 of the newly devised Joss Naylor Lakeland traverse, 48 miles and 17,000’ of ascent, across the Lake District mountains in sub 24 hours.  She was the first woman to complete the Traverse, and at Joss’s suggestion subsequently took on the mantle of co-ordinator of the event for the next 20 years, a role which she carried out diligently and enthusiastically.  Such was her dedication to this task that Monica would drive from her home in Anglesey to the Lake district  and back again in a day to ‘meet and greet’ potential Joss Naylor contenders at road crossings to cheer them on their way.

Monica, a legend in her own lifetime, had many varied talents and was an inspiration to all those whom she met. She will be sadly missed by her many Clayton Harrier friends, her husband Colin and family.

A few of Monica’s many achievements include:
1st L60 London Marathon 1986, 4hrs 14m – record
1st L65 Snowdon Marathon  1991, 4h 51m
World Masters fell championship 2005 Silver Medal W75 (Monica was then 79 yrs old)
1st L60 Langdale Fell Race  4h 02m 1986
British vets XC – wins in her age group in 1981, 1985, 1987 & 1993.
World record on the track at Potsdam as W75 in 2002, 400ms, 88.17seconds.
First lady of the Joss Naylor Lakeland Traverse, 13th June 1992.

For FRA members there’s a fuller profile of Monica’s life and achievements in the next issue of the FRA magazine.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday 22nd August, 1:30 pm at Bangor Crematorium.

Linda Lord

Valerie Lawson 1942 – 2016

Devastated, shocked, disbelief, writes President David Scott. Words cannot adequately reveal my emotions when, on returning from holiday on Thursday, 22nd September, I had a phone call from Richard to say that Valerie had died at two minutes to three that afternoon.

It was so hard to believe, as Valerie had said to us just before Jill and I went away that we must come to lunch when we returned. Someone, who had been part of our lives for over 50 years and who had known our children since they were born, had died so suddenly and unexpectedly.

Capable, efficient, caring and a wonderful cook, as those know who have been lucky enough to go for a meal for four or a buffet for 30, are just some of the many words that could be used to describe Valerie.

Val Lawson at the Podium 5k on 10th September 2016. Photo David Belshaw

Val Lawson at the Podium 5k on 10th September 2016. Photo David Belshaw

On my 2nd Three Peaks, she had taken Jill into her care and round the various points as they supported Richard and myself. Many years later she started running, joined Clayton, trained harder and went on to race all over the country winning many prizes. When Jill retired she persuaded her to take up running, join the Wrinkly Group and then Clayton. I had never succeeded in doing any of those things.

I first went to Tuesday night training at their house in 1965 when Richard and I would run to meet John Calvert for what became an eyeballs out effort. Afterwards I would go back to their home for coffee and biscuits. Over the years numbers gradually increased until after buying more and more mugs, Valerie was catering for up to 20 runners crammed into every corner of the house, with seemingly effortless efficiency.

Most of you will have come across Valerie when buying Clayton clothing, the sale and organising of which she had conducted with her usual efficiency having been Marks & Spencer trained! Or perhaps when she was distributing numbers at Mid Lancs races and sorting out those who had lost or forgotten their own number.

We had several holidays together including the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where we saw Ron Hill win the marathon. In recent years the four of us have had two railway holidays, travelling across the USA from coast to coast, and one through Scandinavia. On those trips, Valerie and I would often laugh to each other, that as Jill and Richard carried all the money and passports, should we have lost sight of them in the crowds, then Valerie and myself would not only have been stateless, but penniless as well.

So many memories over more that 50 years. Valerie was a wife, mother and grandma amongst many other roles and she will be sorely missed by many people. I know that her death will leave a huge hole in our family as well as her own. Our thoughts are with them now and over the coming weeks and months.

The funeral will be held at 12 noon on Friday 7th October at Burnley Crematorium.

Mick Raine 1944 – 2016

Mike passed away in the hospice on Friday 2nd September, aged 72 years, supported by his wife and son. The funeral will take place on Monday 12th September at 11.20 am at Burnley Crematorium.

Bob Mitchell, a good friend of Mike’s, writes: Mike joined the harriers in 1976……(just before I joined!)  He was very helpful indeed to me in my first couple of years with the harriers, guiding me around the training routes and taking me to lots of races as I didn’t own a car until I had been running for a couple of years. We travelled to races as far afield as the Edale Skyline in Derbyshire, the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, the Borrowdale and Langdale races in the Lake District and many more too.

He came to the harriers through his passion for the outdoors and his love of rock climbing. Mike has maintained life-long friendships with his climbing friends, a number of whom also joined the Harriers and they have all been members of a mountaineering club called the ‘NORI Club’…..The club name speaks for itself! (For those who not aware of the name – it is associated with the Accrington Nori Brickworks). They have continued to have weekend meets at various climbing huts in the Lake District.

Since joining the harriers in 1976 his preference of course was for fell running but he also ran in many road races and cross country events too. I can recall seeing him on TV crossing the line in the second, (I think it was), London Marathon to be run. Although Mike never attempted the Bob Graham Round he manfully set up fixed ropes on Broad Stand on the descent of Scafell Pike for my attempt and for several others in the 1980’s.

I think Mike’s best performance in a race was at the Three Peaks Race in the mid 1980’s where one year he ran a superb time of 3 hours 15 minutes, well in front of the rest of us!

Mike, his wife Susan, and myself organised the original Great Hameldon Hill Race in 1979 and for three more years to 1982 before we had to suspend the race due to the building of the Accrington Easterly By Pass which cut through the course. (Of course after the road was completed Paul Healey dutifully took over the organisation in 1986!)

As injuries and advancing years crept up Mike started watching Accrington Stanley in 1999 and had been a season ticket holder for many years since. He was well known on the Stanley Fans Web forum as an astute observer of all things Accrington Stanley. He used the web name ‘REDRAINE’.

Mike had battled bravely with serious illness for around the last nine years but always remained positive and bubbly. He did his best in his efforts to continue to live a busy life. Mike was much loved by his family and friends and will be missed by all those who were close to him.

Tony Aspin

Born on the 15th April 1939. Died on the 30th January 2016, age 76.

Tony AspinTony (Anthony) was born and bred in Accrington. On leaving school he became a Television Engineer and played local football for many years. Later in life Tony worked for Royal Mail and after ‘retirement’ became the ‘caretaker’ at Aldi in Accrington until 70 years of age. Tony had 51 years married to wife Eileen and they had three children and a number of grandchildren, all of whom played a big part in their lives.

When the ‘running boom’ took off, originally in the USA, and then transferred to the UK in the late 70’s and early 80’s Tony joined Clayton-le-Moors Harriers (15th October 1981) and did many road races including marathons. He then discovered a love of the fells and he did many fell races around the North West. Tony played a big part in the ‘Saturday Group’ which runs from different local venues each week. Around 10 years (or more) ago Tony began to develop knee problems and asked if we could keep the ‘Saturday run’ to two hours rather the anything up to three hours and maybe more on some occasions. He later found running too much of an ordeal and set up a Saturday Cycling Group.

Tony was diagnosed with cancer around three years ago but maintained a positive outlook and continued to socialise with club friends. He passed away peacefully at home with his family.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday 9th February at St Anne’s Church in Accrington at 11 am followed by a service at the Accrington Cemetery at 12.20 pm and social event at the Globe Bowling Club, Fern Gore, Accrington.

Paul Healey