Monday, June 21, 2021

Dr William (Bill) D H Conacher

Sad news today of the passing of one of our life members.  Jane Roy contacted the club to tell us that her father, Dr William (Bill) D H Conacher, a Life Member of Victoria Park since 1947, passed away peacefully last Thursday at the age of 91 after a long illness.

Bill was Victoria Park's Club Champion, Scottish Champion, Scottish Universities Champion, and picked as a possible for the GB relay team at the 1948 London Olympics, although he was later confirmed only as a reserve.  He excelled at 440 yds but also competed at 220 yds.  He had the honour of carrying the flag for the Scottish Team in Paris in 1947 at the European Student Games.  He later competed for the RAF during his National Service after WWII.

In 1945 Bill was part of the Victoria Park Medley Relay quartet that appeared as a AAA Select and won their event at an International Meeting at the White City in London.  The team on that occassion was G Smellie, G Macdonald, W D H Conacher and J B Panton.

He went on to become Consultant Physician at Bangour General Hospital, West Lothian, from 1960 until his retirement.

There should be a death notice appearing in the Scotsman this coming Friday, the 2nd of October and Sir Tam Dalyell, former MP for West Lothian is preparing an obituary for the Independent Newspaper.  (Obituary-Independent)

Friends are invited to his funeral to be held on Friday the 9th of October at 2pm at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh, and afterwards at Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, 32 Barnton Avenue, Davidson’s Mains, Edinburgh.

Gordon Innes

Bobby Calderwood

We received the sad news that one of our oldest life members, Bobby Calderwood died on Monday the 1st of March after a long illness.  Bobby, who was 78 is survived by his wife Cathy, his sons John and Alec and his daughter Andrea.  Alec had recently returned from New Zealand and Andrea from London to be with their father.

Bobby joined Victoria Park in 1950 as a talented 19 year old and won his first National medal in the Scottish Youths Cross Country Championships that same year.  He again won Gold in 1952 as part of the Victoria Park team that won the Scottish Junior Cross Country Championships.Bobby Calderwood

He was a winner again with the senior team that won the Scottish Cross Country Championships in 1956, 57 and 58.  Bobby's peers said that he had an ungainly running action but was determined and very competitive in competition and training

He was a regular winner also of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay Race, Victoria Park were 1st in 1952, 54, 56 and 57 where he ran the 5 and a half mile 1st leg from St Andrews Square in Edinburgh to Maybury Cross.  As you can see in the below pictures, Bobby had the honour of carrying the special champions baton from the Lord Provost of Edinburgh to the Lord Provost of Glasgow on several occasions.

He represented Scotland at the Cross Country Internationals in 1956 and 57 and as a result was awarded Life Membership of the Club.

Long after his running career ended, heBobby's old running buddies continued to assist with coaching VP's young athletes at Scotstoun and was the club handicapper until quite recently.

Bobby's son John sent in the picture of Bobby's old running buddies (right).  Our own Andy Forbes is 2nd from the right, if you can recognise any of the other faces, can you post it on the message board.

Bobby had in recent years delighted in donating £1 for every year of his membership prior to the AGM.  His most recent donation was for £60.

Our thoughts are with Cathy, John, Alec and Andrea at this sad time.  I'll post the information relating to the funeral arrangements here when I have them.


From: The Herald

The sad passing of former Scottish Cross Country internationalist Bobby Calderwood earlier this week brings to mind a unique team of which he was very much part. A team from Victoria Park A.A.C who trained out of Scotstoun Showgrounds, Whiteinch Baths Mountblow and the Milngavie Laundry who then crossed the border and took the English Cross Country Championship out of England Besides Bobby this team also included an Empire Games silver medallist Andy Forbes, Scotland's" Zatopek" Ian Binnie and a young miler from Govan who went on the be an American Olympian and serve with the US Marines in Vietnam Alex Breckenridge In 1952 this team travelled to Birmingham and took on the best clubs of England like South London Harriers, Belgrave, Birchfield and Bolton Utd on their own turf and beat them, something that had never happened before and has only happened once since when Shettleston Harriers emulated them in 1971.

Hugh Barrow, Milngavie

Letter From Chris Steele

Dear Members
It has been such a long time since I last thought about the club that saw me through a great time in my life and it was good to see some familiar faces on the club web site.  I am recalling things that I did every day since I looked at the website about ten days ago.
I remember my first night well, it was the club 400m Championships and I didn’t know it at the time, but that was all I was expected to do.  I later went on the 2 mile run with Graham and a group of boys the same age as me.  It was my PE teacher at Victoria Drive Secondary that pointed me in the right direction and to be honest I didn’t look back.  I was 12 at the time and I still do remember all the training runs that we went on, 2 miles (round the block), 2 ½ miles (up to crow road), 3 ½ miles (Mcandrew), 4 miles (up to Great Western Road), 6 miles (the canal run) as well as the odd run through the Clyde Tunnel when there was snow on the ground.  I remember the club races and time trials that we had throughout the winter season and the competition that we had (Speedo, Scott Queen, Colin Allison etc).  I still have trophies from the club to celebrate this.
I also remember the training sessions in the Kelvin Hall (20x200m with a 200m jog recovery) on a Monday night and the track sessions on the gravel track and the old saying that if you can run 60 seconds for 400m on this track you can run 58 seconds for 400m on any other track.  The changing rooms have obviously changed, but I remember giving my money in to a guy who sat with the big dog (sorry can’t remember their names) and then Wallace telling the group what he wanted them to do.  The Saturday morning runs in Milngavie in-between the track season and the cross country season were something else and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  I glad to see that the McAndrew Road Relays are still being held and I hope that the dance is still going strong.
In terms of the track season I remember Crown Point, Dam Park, Pitreavie, Grangemouth with its cycle track around the outside of it, Westlands and Dumfries.  Towards the end of my time at Victoria Park I remember that the West District Championships were always between three athletes, one from Ayr (I think Michael Gill), myself and one from another club and we always took it turn to win the races that we did.  The Young Athletes Athletics League was the best, having to do not only your best event (sometimes not even that) but also a range of other events.  I recently found a picture of me at Pitreavie receiving a plate which was for the, I believe, teams who just missed out on the Young Athletes League Final.  I remember the first time I broke 2 minutes for the 800m, a week after Graham gave me the biggest kick up the back side ever was at Dam Park in the West District Championships after coming back from about 6 months off with an Achilles injury.
During the cross country season I enjoyed myself the most.  My last Scottish national Championships was at Irvine where I finished 7th, I also remember all the other races that were held there, the Scottish Cross Country Relays and the Scottish Schools Cross Country Championships.  I will always remember the dragons back hill after you come off the beach.  The Glasgow Schools Championships was always held at Pollok Park and I had a good run there for many a year finishing in the top three on several occasions.  Other courses that I always remember when I come home is the one at Clydebank and the one in Arbroath at the end of the season.  The best time though was when I got selected to represent Scotland at the New Year race in Gateshead and then the week later running for Great Britain at a race in Lisbon.
When I went to University in Liverpool, I joined Liverpool Harriers and I soon became a regular in their British league team for the steeplechase, I was also University cross country champ as well as Merseyside Champion.  The training at Liverpool was just as hard with training sessions five days a week.
Since then I have been teaching in Milton Keynes where I continued to run, however not train, as the track that the club use is on the site where I taught.  Three years later I moved to Crewe where I am still based after ten long years.  I am still heavily involved in athletics and cross country being the Cheshire Schools Boys Cross Country team manager and my claim to fame is that every year I have been at school I have had either a county track and field champion or a student obtaining their county vest.  This year was the county vest at the North West Regional Multi Events Championships at the end of June.
I enjoyed my time immensely at Victoria Park and I always look out for athletes from the club at the UK trials every year.  A big hello to all who remember me especially to Graham who got me through each season with encouragement and hard work.  If only my local club was as friendly as Victoria Park was.
I wish the club all the best in the coming year and if I am still in Crewe in four years time I will be bringing a group of students up to the Commonwealth Games where I hope to see some of the clubs athletes representing Scotland.
PS – I can still remember some of my PB’s
200m – Kelvin Hall – 24.6 seconds
800m - Wavertree – 1min 56.8secs
1500m - ??? – 3min 54.6secs
Chris Steele

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Member between 1987 and 1993

Bob Izzatt

Bob has once again been in touch after unearthing more treasures from within his Garage. He was having a clearout recently and found two old pairs of running spikes.

Both were handmade in 1952 by a cobler who used to visit the athletes when they were training at Scotstoun Stadium.

Once ordered, the shoes were usually finished and returned within seven days.

The shoes pictured right have hardly been worn and it's our intention to put them on display along with other memorabilia within Scotstoun Stadium in the near future.