Andy Holden - Remembered 3 (15/01/2014)

This weeks AW, due out on Thursday 16th January, carries three letters recalling Andy Holden.

The first, from Eddie Almond of Leyland:

"I was saddened to hear the news of the death of Andy Holden. We were both born in Leyland and attended the same school at Preston Catholic College, albeit eight years apart. I got to know him well and Andy, Maurice Dean from Preston Harriers and myself went on several 9 mile runs to Chorley and back. After 3 miles of steady running Andy would forge ahead and we were left wallowing in his wake. I can recall Andy in his early 20s training in the local park where he would hurdle over the garden benches and ornamental wall in front of the ruined Worden Hall.

He was simply the greatest athletes to come from Leyland in the second Olympian after the Pioneer Triple Jumper Jack Higginson in 1924. Although I never coached him I like to think I played a small part in helping him on his path to athletic excellence."

The next is from Alistair Aitken, the author and athletics commentator:

"I was sorry to hear about the death of Andy Holden, probably the most charismatic club runner the Midlands has ever produced. Memories flood back to watching him in road relays at Sutton Park, with his red hair, slightly stooped stance, ground eating economical stride and spurred on by shouts from his supporters as he gave 100% for Tipton.

Not only was Andy and international runner, successful dentist and club coach but he enjoyed his social life with many a pint raised. He was also very supportive of Birmingham University. I went up to Birmingham quite a few times to interview Andy, John Wheway, Tony Milovsorov and Allan Rushmer but it was Andy's amazing pub parties afterwards that stood out. He really knew how to enjoy his athletics life, in a way that is not done so much now.

He was from that same Dave Bedford era when Britain had so many world-class runners and they loved their beer too!"

Finally from Malcolm Warburton of Sandbach:

"Looking back over the career of the late and much lamented Andy Holden, I was struck by this result from February 1967. Lancashire Schools Senior Boys Cross-Country at Stonyhurst College: 1st Andy Holden, 2nd Norman Poole, 3rd Terry Lonergan. Who would have imagined what diverse contributions to British athletics that trio would make over the ensuing years last remark"

The Daily Telegraph (15th January 2014) carried an obituary. Details 

Dave Bedford, Andy's rival and training partner interviewed about Andy on talkSPORT radio.

(Click on the talkSPORT link above, then click on the "14:00 -14:30" link, Dave is interviewed at around 14:20)