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Alec Tiffin: Ilford AC pays tribute to a “true gentleman”

12:03 29 November 2016

Alec Tiffin

Alec Tiffin

Archant

An Ilford athletics club has paid tribute to one of its long standing members, Alec Tiffin, who died earlier this month.

Alan Tiffin (Back row second from the left) with Ilford AC in 1979Alan Tiffin (Back row second from the left) with Ilford AC in 1979

Alec, 87, from Hornchurch, had been a member of Ilford AC, based in Cricklefields Athletic Stadium, Cricklefield Place, Ilford, for more than 60 years operating in a number of different roles.

From re-igniting the club’s walking section in the 1950s to acting as honorary secretary from 1969 to 1975, Alec remained a key figure within the club until his death.

Former Ilford AC member and international athlete, Colin Young, was saddened by Alec’s death and commended him as a runner.

“Alec was a shy, kind and generous man who I have known for nearly 70 years,” said Colin.

“The vast majority will not realise that Alec started as a race walker and I still believe he would have reached greater heights at “heel-and-toe” than he did as a consistent, wholehearted club runner.”

Despite playing a key role in reviving the club’s fortunes in walking races Alec’s true sporting love was running, participating in a number of road and cross-country events alongside other athletes such as Colin.

Once Alec’s competitive days were behind him, although he still ran for fun well into his 80s, he took up administrative roles with Ilford AC to help with the club’s management.

As well as being an athlete Alec’s other great passion was painting - with two of his pieces displayed at the Queen’s Theatre, in Main Road, Romford, two years ago.

One of the club’s Olympians, 68-year-old Roger Mills, commended Alec for his years of service for Ilford AC and hailed to the positive impact that he has had on the club and its members.

“The club has lost a true gentleman. For those club members too young to have had the benefit and pleasure of knowing Alec, he was a rare breed who epitomised human kindness and selflessness,” said Roger.

“Totally loyal to the needs of the club and its members, with little comprehension as to the high regard we had for him,” Roger, race walked in the 1980 Olympics, added.

Gordon Couch, a close friend and Ilford AC member, reiterated Roger’s sentiment describing him as a “delight to work with” and a “archetypal Ilford athlete with light and dark blue blood”.

“His only concern was the welfare of Ilford AC and its athletes. Rest in peace.”

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