Ed Warner, Suphi Bedevi, William McGrath, Tom McCook, Dave Newnham and Daniel Caines.
People in many walks of life in the Midlands were saddened to learn of the passing on 29 July at the age of 74 after a short illness of Dave Newnham, who was a former Vice President at Birchfield Harriers.
Dave joined Halesowen C and AC as a young man in the 1950’s. He played an active role in the Worcestershire club for several decades, initially as a competing athlete before qualifying as a middle distance and endurance coach. He was actively involved nationally in the development of many talented athletes during his many years as a British Junior Commission Coach. Further much deserved recognition came fifteen years ago when he was selected as one of the coaching staff with the England Athletics team who competed with distinction at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Professionally Dave worked in the automotive industry at Longbridge for BMC, British Leyland, Rover group and subsequently BMW. In the latter stages of his career, he utilised his extensive knowledge of the industry to good effect in auditing various departments in the organisation in his role as Compliance Manager.
In October 2000 following the untimely death of the former European 800 metres champion Mike Rawson, Dave was asked to assist with the coaching of members of Mike’s squad at the Alexander Stadium.
Eight years ago, Dave officially became a member of Birchfield Harriers but he maintained his long association with Halesowen C and AC as a Trustee.
He took up his first Committee role at Birchfield Harriers as Vice-Chair Coaching. During his tenure in this capacity, he introduced the Clubs Register of Approved Coaches, the procedures for using the free-weights room and the re-introduction of the “Athlete of the Month” programme and provided the frames for the certificates out of his own “pocket” before canvassing for individual sponsors.
In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Keith Bolton Memorial Award, awarded annually to a Club Officer, Official, Team Manager or Coach for Outstanding service to the club.
In 2007 he was also elected as a Club Vice-President and in the same year, he succeeded Andy Paul as the Deputy Club Chair and was responsible for introducing the “Welcome Pack” sent to new members of the Club.
Dave succeeded Tom McCook as the Club Public Relations Officer in November 2009 , a post which he held until 2012. In this capacity, Dave interfaced with a number of outside organisations such as AGA Rangemaster, the BBC and other media organisations, Great Barr Rotary Club and Macmillan Cancer.
He was the forerunner regarding recruitment of volunteers to act as receptionists and guides for new members and outside visitors / organisations. During this time he continued to coach club members, offer advice and encouragement to all those that asked him for it.
Dave was forced to take a short break to recover from his triple heart bypass about two years ago but returned to the Alexander Stadium and was once again building a successful training squad.
Norma Blaine MBE who was elected Club President at the AGM last November paid this tribute to her friend and colleague. “ Like his many other friends, I was shocked to receive this very sad news. It still seems unbelievable. I first met Dave many years ago at training sessions or international matches when we were both involved with the British Junior Commission. He was always someone that I knew that I could turn to when I needed advice on a wide range of topics. He made a significant contribution to our sport which supported like everything else that he did with such energy and enthusiasm. Our thoughts at this very sad time are especially with Dave’s wife, Jane and their two children, Cathie and Martin.”
Funeral Arrangements10.15am Friday 9 August Redditch Crematorium, Bordesley Lane, Redditch, B97 6RR.
No flowers but any donations to Primrose Hospice, Princess of Wales Hospital.
(written by Tom McCook)