Birchfield was saddened last week to hear of the death of Janet Paul, a much loved member of the Club.
Janet joined Birchfield as a young girl alongside current President Norma Blaine MBE and race walker Beryl Randle. She initially focused on race walking but there are many photographs in our archive of her competing in a range of events for the Club.
Coached by Nelson Neale, Janet loved the sport of athletics from the day she first set foot on a track. Following a short break when she had her children, Stuart, Andy and Sarah she returned the Club and started her career as a coach.
In the late 1970’s Nelson Neale asked Janet if she would take on the role of setting up the Sporthall Athletics League in Birmingham. This was a role she truly relished, throwing her heart and soul into Sportshall athletics, running the league for more than 30 years thereby enabling thousands of young athletes to gain their first competitive experience in a fun environment. Many of those who achieved the very top in our sport started out in Sportshall athletics going on to win Olympic medals, including Mark Lewis-Francis.
She was also involved in other areas of the sport as an active official and Secretary of Warwickshire County Athletics Association.
Janet introduced her children to Athletics and passed on her love of the sport and what it can do for young people. To this day both Stuart and Andy are heavily involved with the sport, whilst Sarah’s kids all run. Stuart is a senior official who was part of the team at the London 2012 Olympics and Andy is the current Club Chair at Birchfield and is a successful coach producing a crop of talented sprinters and hurdlers.
She will be much missed by all at Birchfield as a lady who, even after she had retired from her coaching and administration duties, was always to be seen at the Club showing a keen interest in all our athletes.
The funeral will be held at the Crematorium in Perry Barr on Friday 16 December at 11am. All those wishing to attend should meet at the Alexander Stadium at 1030am to follow the hearse to the crematorium. Family flowers only and the family have asked for donations to Sportshall in Janet’s memory via the following link
The family invite all those who wish to join them, in the Clubroom, at the Alexander Stadium following the funeral.