A Tribute To George Price (28/09/1983)

George T Price - Member of Tipton Harriers 1936 – 1983, Chairman 1945 – 1957, President 1957 – 1983

It is remarkable that through its 73 year history, Tipton Harriers has had only five Presidents, two of whom have made major and unique contributions to the development of the club.   One was the legendary Innie Palethorpe (1929-55), the club’s greatest single benefactor, the other George T Price, whose death early in August was a profound loss to the club.   The esteem in which he was held was marked in 1981 by the club conferring on him the Presidency for Life, an honour which he deeply appreciated.

George joined the club in 1936 and, surprisingly for these times, enjoyed his major success on the track where he was one of the club’s leading middle-distance runners until the wartime years.   Soon his personality and successful business-managerial background identified him as a man of enormous potential as a leading club official.   In 1945 he began his 12 year tenure of the club Chairmanship, spanning some of the most difficult years in the club’s history when by the mid 1950s its fortunes reached their lowest ebb.   The Chairman dealt with this crisis by summoning a crucial Special Meeting in May 1955 at which, in clear and forceful terms, he alerted the club to its plight, and set out aims and objectives for the club which proved prophetic.   The growth of membership, the improvement in club finance, administration and organisation, the development of a new club spirit, the athletic achievements, all of which followed over the next ten to fifteen years, can be traced to the sense of purpose and determination which he inspired in others at that meeting with his rallying call to “see the name of Tipton more prominent”.

As President, George led the club into another major step of faith, into its association with the Tipton Sports Union Trust, thus guaranteeing to the club training facilities vastly superior to anything it had previously enjoyed.   George’s passionate advocacy of this move made a profound impact on the club committee in the late 1960s and was amply rewarded in our successful move to Gospel Oak in 1970 and the official opening by the Duke of Edinburgh in June 1971.   His commitment to the TSUT was unwavering despite the many crises and traumas of subsequent years, with the interests and future of the Harriers remaining his essential concern throughout.   Sadly his premature retirement and his ill health during the last five years prevented George playing as forceful a role as he would have wished in the exciting developments of recent times of which he was fully aware.

We will remember him however, travelling from his home in Wales to attend meetings, to support the teams at major events whenever his health and the weather permitted.   We will remember the pleasure and satisfaction which he so obviously gained from the successes of individuals and the teams, whose participation in the sport he had done so much to make possible.

In tribute to Innie Palethorpe in 1955, W E (Bill) Patrick, our longest serving club member said “ … his pleasure was the club members’ pleasure.   His help to the sport in general was much appreciated by all concerned”.   The same sentiments apply entirely to George Price.