Becoming the National Race Walking Association President is an honour Fred Pearce richly deserves. All of us know how much he has contributed over the years through both the good times and the bad to keeping race walking alive both in Lancashire, the North of England and beyond. In terms of the Lancashire Walking itself there is no post or role that Fred hasn’t undertaken. Indeed at times he has almost single-handedly kept the club afloat. Amazingly too he has borne the burden in an unflappable manner, always impeccably turned out, so often attired in his ever stylish blazer.
Having done some research I believe also that fittingly his Presidency comes to pass in his sixtieth year in the sport. Trawling through the Records my speculation is that his first race was in the Moston Open 10 miles on June 2nd 1956, where he dead-heated with his dad in 23rd position. From that moment on race results had to distinguish between Fred Pearce Senior and Fred Pearce Junior. In truth Fred Junior never fulfilled the potential hinted at by his stylish mode of progression, although he could be relied on to blast the last 200 metres of any race with not a hair out of place!
As it was our paths crossed in the early 1960’s, but it wasn’t till later in the decade that Fred’s talents came to the fore. A major reason for him not achieving what might have been on the road was the demand placed upon him by his successful business life. However his organisational acumen and penchant for detail were instrumental in the rise of the club’s prominence in the late 60’s, led on the track and road by Ron Wallwork. Central to this period was the collective spirit engendered by such characters as Chris Bolton, another great organiser, who produced the club magazine, ‘CONTACT’. As we got prepared for a big race we knew that Fred would have sorted out all the necessary practical details. He was the Team Manager par excellence.
And indeed he has carried on being just that to the present day. If, God forbid, we were into rebranding, we would become ‘Team Lancashire’ with Fred as our Chief Executive!
I know that everyone will join me in thanking Fred for all his endeavours and wish him all the best for his year in office.
BRAVO, EL PRESIDENTE!
POSTSCRIPT – I’m not sure how many national presidents the club has boasted over the years . I remember Reg Goodwin, Alf Scorer and Joe Lambert. Further info appreciated. And courtesy of Glyn Jones and to my embarrassment, those stalwarts Frank O’Neill and Dick Smith were Presidents in the 1970’s.
PPS Thanks to Guy Goodair for the Bradford photo. Not sure who took the one of Fred looking a mite informal, but thanks.