Tom McCook, the long-time Birchfield Harriers stalwart and former President, athletics journalist and Athletics Weekly contributor, has died aged 69 from a heart attack.
Originally from Inverness, McCook moved to Birmingham and went on to become president of his beloved Birchfield and such was his popularity and impact on the sport he was given the prestigious Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics around a decade ago.
McCook was an ever-present at athletics events, especially at the Alexander Stadium, where he passed on his infectious enthusiasm for the sport with athletes, coaches, spectators and journalists.
Tom served as President of the Club for many years and is remembered by all for his love of the Club and his support for all its athletes whatever their age or ability. There have been tributes from all areas of the sport and Club Chair Andy Paul said:
“Tom McCook, Life Vice President and so much more to so many of us for such a long period of time will be sadly missed. Within minutes of the news being shared I was struck by the passion with which people spoke of Tom and how disturbed they were by the news.”
The news of his death came as the first day of the Indoor British Championships was drawing to a close and cast a shadow over the weekend for all those who knew him. Tributes were posted instantly on social media.
“A true gent who loved the sport & was a fan to his core. Will be massively missed,” Linford Christie tweeted.
McCook was part of the fabric of Birchfield Harriers – a club that has produced Olympians such as Denise Lewis, Ian Stewart and Katharine Merry.
Merry tweeted: “As vice-president of Birchfield and having known Tom for nearly 30 years, his enthusiasm for the club and athletics was never in doubt.”
Athletics Weekly editor Jason Henderson added: “Tom was one of AW’s most loyal and enthusiastic contributors and his most recent feature for us – where he told the story of an unsung hero called Bod Atkins – was published only last month. It’s hard to think of a friendlier character at British athletics meetings and he never stopped working hard behind the scenes, to promote the sport.”
Our thoughts go out to his wife Carol and children James, Helen and Sarah and the extended family.