RIP Alan Whittle (09/10/2017)

The Club were saddened to learn of the death on 7th October 2017 of Alan Whittle after a period of ill health. Alan was originally a member of West Bromwich Harriers in the 1950’s and had many keen tussles with Tipton Harriers in local events before joining Tipton in the 1960’s. Indeed Alan was a quality athlete as a youngster often beating older men in senior competition.

He was born in 1938, his Father was English & his Mother Irish. Alan was educated at West Bromwich Grammar School before a “brief” attendance at Keele University and a spell of National Service.

Alan won many Staffordshire titles over the years both as an individual and as a member of various teams. He enjoyed running on most surfaces and ran well on all.

Alan joined Tipton Harriers in January 1960 as a second claim member. There he joined up with the likes of Roy Poultney, a lifelong friend, Bob Bratt & Ron Franklin. Later in August of that year he joined as a first claim member. He had to wait a further twelve months, as was the norm at that time, to be able to compete in team competition for Tipton.

He had many friends within the club and they used, as young runners, to head off around the country and abroad on running holidays. The group became known as the “Chasps”. He joined the likes of Roy Poultney, Tony Phillips, David Denton, Bert Harbach, Eric Silk and others of that generation on many escapades.

He was a regular in road relay teams, at Birmingham & District Invitation Cross Country League fixtures and Staffordshire events throughout the 1960’s & 70’s. He raced regularly and widely including the famous Nos Galan Race over New Year and many other venues around the country. It was in late 1960 that he headed up to the Ben Nevis Fell Race where Alan finished 24th. He contested many events including the 440 yards through to 10 miles on the road. He gained selection for Staffordshire a number of times.

He continued to race as a veteran into the 1980’s, taking the scene seriously, and again won awards in the top three in many club, county, area and national events at individual and as a member of the club team. Like many members of the club from that era he was an early member of the MVAC/MMAC.

But his contribution to the club was not just in his athletic performances he held the post of press secretary for many years and also edited the “Whippet” during the 1960’s. He was still contributing to promote the club when he could in the late 1980’s. At the clubs centenary in 2010 Alan was able to provide access to paper copies of various editions of the club magazine from the 1960’s that he had edited and retained.

He was renowned for the wide variety, style and condition of kit that used to adorn him and areas of the clubhouse! Some may also recall his pre training occupation at the table tennis table at the old clubhouse. Many of those who raced and trained with Alan have a story to tell of the man and a kindly smile is never far from their face.

Tipton Alan Whittle 0001 Extract

Outside athletics he was a hard working Black Country businessman in the foundry industry with his own company. He enjoyed a wide circle of friends with whom he went to the theatre & cinema often accompanied by a good meal and chat. Tipton Harriers remained a large part of his life with the likes of Keith Atkins remaining a very close friend and companion at these events discussing the highs & lows of the Harriers which they recalled fondly. He was a voracious reader and articulate speaker. Aside from athletics he was involved with local dramatic groups and was a lifelong West Bromwich Albion fan.

Our thoughts go to his family & friends.

A private family service is to be held.