Last updated 23 March 2012
Richard Griffin, LVO, BA, President for 2014/15
was born on 10 April 1951 in Newport, Gwent, where he grew up with his younger
sister Judith, his mother died when he was only 5 and unfortunately his father,
a serving police officer, was killed on duty three years later.
He was educated at Larkfield Grammar School where his main
interest, as with all true Welshmen, was in rugby. He participated in cross
country and athletics whilst at school and represented both his town and county
in the 800m at athletic meetings in Wales.
On reaching the age of 16 he started work as a Police
Cadet with Gwent Constabulary where he worked until he reached the age of 19.
Whilst working here he was always active in soccer, rugby, cricket and bowls! It
was during this period that he undertook the challenge of The Duke of Edinburgh
Award and successfully reached the gold standard. One of the challenges set for
him was to qualify as a football referee and to referee for a season in a local
At 19 he decided that life in Wales was too quiet and
moved to London where he joined the Metropolitan Police in 1970. He won Sheila
in a raffle at a Policemans Ball shortly after (he had to meet her for lunch to
collect his prize) and they married in 1972 and have two children Holly and
Gareth and three wonderful grandchildren in Joshua, Isla and Heath. The future
is looking good as both Isla and Heath attend The Bees Academy on Saturday
He served as a constable and sergeant in Central London
before a tour of duty with the Obscene Publications Branch at New Scotland Yard.
It was during this tour of duty with “The Dirty Books Squad” that he met Denis
Lawrie and their friendship has flourished. Promoted to Inspector in 1981 when
events elsewhere changed his life overnight. Michael Fagan had broken into The
Queen’s bedroom at Buckingham Palace and Dick was part of a team of 6 police
officers sent in to sort out the reorganisation of security procedures.
On completion of this task he was selected to be a
Personal Protection Officer and was sent to Cambridge University to protect HRH
The Prince Edward. He made the most of this and gained a Bachelor of Arts Degree
from The Open University.
In 1986 he was promoted to Chief Inspector and moved to
the Household of The Duke of Edinburgh for whom he worked for 13 very enjoyable
years, the highlight of which was being attacked by a giant panda whilst on a
visit to China. In 1999 he became a Personal Protection Officer to Her Majesty
The Queen for whom he worked for 14 years. This period was the pinnacle of his
career as he travelled throughout the world with Her Majesty. In 2010 he was
promoted to Superintendent and held the position known as “The Queen’s Police
Officer “until he retired in April 2013 when he was honoured by being made a
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, a personal decoration from Her Majesty.
During his career as a Royalty Protection Officer he visited over 150 different
In 1981 his daughter had persuaded him to take her to
watch the first London Marathon which gave him the incentive to start distance
running. A friend of Dick and Denis had told them the dreadful news that his son
had developed Muscular Dystrophy and they both resolved to run the 1982 London
Marathon and raise funds for this charity. This was something of a challenge as
neither of them were distance runners and both were a great deal overweight but
the race was completed in 3.57 and since then he has completed all London
Marathons except 1985 when he broke his leg a few weeks before the race! He has
currently run over 230 marathons all over the world including New York, Boston,
Paris, Berlin and Orpington! In 2012 he completed the Comrades Marathon (55
miles) in South Africa in a time of 10 hrs 30 mins. He also completed the famous
London to Brighton Road Race 3 times and competed in two 24 hours races with a
best distance of 102 miles. In the Doncaster 24 hour race he raised a sum of
over £12,000 for charity. He is still actively involved in distance running and
is enjoying success in the over 60 age group and recently won the gold medal in
the Southern Counties Veterans Marathon Championships.
Whilst training with Denis Lawrie for the 1987 London
Marathon he was running through the snow towards Badgers Mount when Mike Gasson
came alongside them and began to chat. As a consequence they came down to BH
within the next couple of weeks and that was the start of his membership.
He has been actively involved in many aspects of the club
including the organisation of the Wednesday Nighters’ Christmas Dinner. From
April this year Sheila and Dick will be organising the Parris Handicap and they
have also recently taken over the formidable task of handing all the club kit.
Their son Gareth is also an active member competing regularly in marathons and
In 2005 Dick was made a VP by Past President Margaret
When asked by Bob Cliff to become President Dick asked for
24 hours to consider it so he could talk it over at home, but Sheila knew only
too well he would take the challenge on as Blackheath and Bromley Harriers means
so much to him and is a very important part of his life. He is already planning
at St. Davids Day meal of leek soup and Welsh Rarebit!
What are his visions for his presidency year?
To actively encourage more runners to support Wednesday
nights. Every Saturday over 400 hundred runners take part in Bromley Park Run
and many of them are unattached runners who live in this area. He intends to
take an active part in encouraging these runners to come along and see what we
have to offer by handing out flyers at the race and setting up a stand at the
finish to answer questions and encourage runners to visit us. He would also like
to see more ladies visit the bar on a Wednesday night as there seems to be a
great reluctance to come upstairs and we must actively encourage this group of
athletes to come and see what hospitality we have to offer. He will also be
going to spectate at many of the track events involving our athletes and to
hopefully encourage more Wednesday Nighters to actively go and support what is
an amazing success story of our club.
Wilf Orton interviews the President,
PRESIDENT”….DICK GRIFFIN LVO
This year the club has
another retired policeman as president, whose own career has been wholly
unique. He has been a club member for nearly 30 years long enough to be
join the club ‘hall of fame’, and has for some years been the man that
many people hoped would be president one day. Now his time has come and
no more popular choice for a president could have been made. I caught up
with him in Upper Norwood in May and this is what this year’s president
Dick Griffin had to say about himself.
First off I want to
find out what was your previous connection with your predecessor Bob Cliff and
how that led to your being asked to take on the Presidency?
I didn’t really know Bob that
well but he started by asking around previous presidents to get their advice
and after drawing up a short list of suitable candidates he asked me if I would
like to be president and I accepted and ‘Bob’s your uncle”. Actually his timing
was quite funny because two weeks previously my son Gareth volunteered Sheila
and I to take over the organization of the club kit from the Baldwins, and then
Rob Brown wanted someone to take over the Parris Handicap so I thought ‘well
that’s only once a month’. Then five days after I agreed to take this on too,
Bob Cliff asked me if I’d like to be President. So I replied “shouldn’t you have
done this the other way around so I could turn the other two down”!
If you’re ever given the honour it’s a 5/6 days a week job, I’ve been amazed.
The club used to have
sections for other sports groups. Do you wish that these sections could be
revived or is that no longer practical?
I think that the club has moved
on. We are purely an athletics and triathlon club now. We used to have
sub-groups such as cricket, rugby and rowing clubs but sadly these cannot be
revived…...there are more than enough local cricket, bowls and rugby clubs
around to join for us not to worry about keeping those old groups going. We used
to have rowing activities when I first joined and we still have the annual
Maryon Wilson swimming race, that’s a one off event, which in fact I have swum
in myself, very badly.
Whilst such an idea of taking on different sports sounds interesting, a lot of
club members don’t realise how many volunteers are needed to keep this club
going…so many volunteers are needed for this and few people actually do get
involved. A few people do a lot so we don’t need to take any more on in those
In your late teens you
undertook the challenge of The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and successfully
reached the Gold Standard. What was the scope and range of activities in which
The Duke of Edinburgh Award
Scheme is aimed essentially at young persons in the 14-24 age group. There are
bronze and silver awards in which 4 activities are required to be completed and
a gold award for which 5 activities are required. These activities include
volunteering, physical, skills and an expedition.
To complete the gold award you also go on a residential course….bearing in mind
that it took me three years to do all of this. I volunteered to help in a local
hospital for 3-4 hours a week for 18 months and I worked in Newport Council
horticultural department. For skills I qualified as a football referee in local
leagues for 2 years and to attain the physical standard I did running, fitness
training and went on 4 expeditions, including the Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor and
an outward bound course in Devon. The best part of it was coming to London to
get my gold award from the Duke of Edinburgh personally.
The scheme is open to anyone….no one should be excluded because of lack of
funds….. charities and foundations are able to help so there should be no costs
incurred by the young people themselves.
The award scheme is what Prince Philip says it is. It’s what a lot of young
people do in their everyday life…play sport, volunteer and develop life skills.
It develops team building and encourages people to rely on each other… as well
as building up physical fitness which is something we take for granted but at
17-18 you’re not going to be taught that at school.
When at 19 you decided
that life in Wales was too quiet and moved to London and the Metropolitan
Police. How did your life change?
You have to appreciate that I
was the boy from a small village in Wales, called Llanwern (population 200)
going to London for the first time.
London life for someone like that was a real eye-opener. It was the first time
I’d seen such things as a Chinese restaurant. At 19 from living at home I found
myself in single men’s accommodation…I was free! Unlike Denis Lawrie who was a
PC in Fife and already married with skills to bring with him, I was only a
police cadet and came up on my own …not yet a fully fledged policeman.
Later you had a tour of
duty with the Obscene Publications Branch at New Scotland Yard. “The Dirty
Books Squad. This form of crime seems to have been more prominent in policing in
the 1970s. Has it become less so?
When I served on the squad we
were dealing with the same problems as police are dealing with now…paedophiles
were being investigated and increasingly caught out.
All obscene publications are still covered by the same act. In those days it was
mainly printed material whereas now it’s readily available on the internet…and
the police have different squads to deal with that, but the biggest problem was
paedophiles…the internet offers easier access to obscenity now.
So far as dirty books were concerned I won’t try to describe what we had to deal
with. It was so vile that officers were only allowed to serve for a maximum of 2
years. I was fortunate because when it came to the end of my time there I
got promoted to Inspector and transferred to Tower Bridge Police Station.
much were you associated with Denis whilst on duty?
It was through the branch that
I first met Denis Lawrie. There were 10 officers on the squad together with an
inspector who in the last 6 months of my time there was Denis. I found out that
he lived close to me so I invited him for dinner and the rest is history. We’ve
been mates for 35 years, our kids have grown up together and the two families
have been almost one big happy one.
The Michael Fagan
intrusion was a change of direction in your career. Was it purely coincidental
that your career changed course or did you think that you were moving in that
It’s a matter of public record…the
alarms didn’t work properly…not enough money was spent by the relevant
government department (the Home Office) on updating systems so security in
Buckingham Palace was a disaster waiting to happen. No-one expects that someone
in going to break in and find their way into the Queen’s bedroom but like most
things in life the thing which you didn’t expect will happen does happen. I had
recently been promoted to Inspector and was settling down to a career in
mainstream policing, when out of the blue the Metropolitan Police Commissioner
selected 6 inspectors to shake the Palace up following the Michael Fagan
What was the result of this re-organisation?
We changed the shift pattern,
brought in more officers, better training, spent a fortune on alarms…it was
quite a wake up call…we helped Lord Bridges in preparing a report to Parliament
and his recommendations were contained in a lengthy report which the government
acted upon. There is too much to mention here and some of it is still considered
confidential enough to prevent me saying anything more detailed about it.
In 1982 you were sent to Cambridge
University to protect HRH The Prince Edward. Was he a particular security risk
being royal or could you be relatively low profile?
At that time he was a low risk
from terrorism…all royals are subject to contact with people with mental health
problems, grudges, and of course novel for that time the threat of press
intrusion. I was an Honorary Fellow at the College for 3 years whilst Edward did
his degree. a I did my degree through the Open University to avoid any conflict
of interest in what HRH was doing.
What did you read at the Open
I read Philosophy, music and art
and completed a BA Degree in The Arts. I visited art galleries and wrote essays
about such artists as Turner and Constable. In the Open University I’d be
studying in my own time writing essays until 2 in the morning. These days the
Open University isn’t cheap but at that time the Police paid some of my fees…I
And were you able to take in and
enjoy the university atmosphere?
As for the university atmosphere,
I had some of the happiest 3 years of my life…Edward played Rugby for his
college whilst I was able to do my long distance running ..Edward would come
along on his bike to give me drinks and look after me, so it was like role
reversal. It was whilst at Cambridge I discovered my love of ultra running.
Together with a tutor from Jesus College we accepted a challenge from Prince
Edward to run from Buckingham Palace to Jesus College, Cambridge to raise funds
for The Save the Children Fund. We started off from London at 6am and reached
Cambridge, 60 miles later at 4pm in the
As well as sport there was also acting. Edward produced plays at college and
would always include a part for me. The first play I performed in was called
“Glitterball prizes” and I was given a part (albeit a lowly one) and was on
stage for only about 5 minutes. I thought it was going to be a student play but
the Prince of Wales came to watch it and it was such a success that my face was
on every tabloid the next day. “Edward’s minder steals the show” was one
of the headlines. In this play I performed in a sketch with another student…I
was a bouncer. The result was that the next day an assistant commissioner called
me afterwards, and told me “you’re meant to be keeping a low key profile at
Cambridge…you’re the headline in every national tabloid paper… I replied “well
unfortunately it’s going to be on all week” so he said “well that’s the end of
your acting career!”
“Well sir”…I replied….”there’s a slight problem there…we’ve been invited to do
the play at Windsor Castle in front of the Queen!
Actually I was set up for this play because every time we went to rehearsals,
for one particular role, the student who had that part never turned up….and when
we got to the final dress rehearsal I was told that that particular part “was
written for you” . I’d been to so many rehearsals that I knew the part inside
out so I had to do it. Anyway sometimes you’re thrown into these things…you’ve
got to just go through with it….give everyone a laugh.
Did you find Cambridge to be an
elitist institution or an open one?
Cambridge University is elitist
academically yes – in that it selects the brightest students but socially no.
There are a disproportionate number of privately schooled pupils for a large
variety of reasons. Predominantly, that a much greater proportion of them apply
compared to students from state schools. But there are very very few “Toffs”,
most people are still quite normal and friendly regardless of where they went to
school and as a policeman I was made more than welcome by everybody. All are
united in one aim and that is to get a good degree. Oxbridge universities get
the cleverest people in the land…there’s real brainpower there but let’s not
apologise for those people getting a fantastic education.
In 1986 you moved to the
Household of The Duke of Edinburgh What is he like and does he really come
across as being likeably outspoken?
Prince Philip…… I worked as his
Protection Officer for 13 years, 1986 to 1999. He is the most amazing man, so
much energy. It is a well reported fact that he does not suffer fools gladly but
I found him the most wonderful person to work for. Naturally he will speak his
mind so here are some of my favourite Prince Phillip Gaffs: To
students in China in 1986, “If you stay here too long you will get slitty eyes.
On meeting president of Nigeria who was dressed in National Costume in
2003, “You look like you are ready for bed”, and, best of all, to
a Scottish Driving Instructor in 1995. “How do you keep the natives off the
booze long enough to pass the test”
What on earth happened with the
In 1986 I went on a tour of China
with Duke of Edinburgh and we visited a Giant Panda Research Station. The BBC
were filming Prince Philip holding the latest baby panda born at the research
station. The mother was in a cage nearby and was getting very agitated by all
the people around her. Suddenly she lashed out with her paw catching me a
glancing blow across the top of my leg which needed stitches. As the nearest
hospital was several hours away the deep wound was sewn up by HRH’s valet! Thus
according to The Daily Telegraph I became the first Metropolitan Police Officer
in the 150 years history of the Police Force to be injured on duty by being
savaged by a giant panda!
In 1999 you became The Queens
Police Officer, what were your highlights?
After 13 wonderful years with HRH
The Prince Philip I was transferred to The Household of Her Majesty the Queen.
This was an amazing time in my life as I was fortunate to meet Nelson Mandela,
The Pope, President Bush as well as sporting icons like Paula Radcliffe.
Highlights of those years have been my involvement in the arrangements of both
the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Celebrations as well as The London Olympics. I
was sworn to secrecy about the James Bond clip for the Opening Ceremony, even
Sheila did not know about it.
After 14 years with Her Majesty I reluctantly decided to retire in April 2013
and was fortunate that Her Majesty gave me a retirement party at Buckingham
Palace to which 200 people were invited. I was honoured when not only she and
Prince Philip attended but also The Earl of Wessex who telephoned me beforehand
to ask if he could pop in!
Last year you were made a
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order. What is that awarded for?
The Royal Victorian Order was
founded in 1896 by Queen Victoria as a way of rewarding distinguished personal
service to her, on her own initiative rather than by ministerial recommendation.
The Order was, and is, entirely within the Sovereigns gift and is given by Her
Majesty to people who have served her or the monarchy in a personal way.
I had previously been made a Member of The Royal Victorian Order (MVO)
for services to Royalty Protection and in 2013 was made a Lieutenant of The
Royal Victorian Order (LVO) for services to Her Majesty the Queen. Every 4 years
the members of the RVO attend a service at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Many members of the Royal Family attend including Her Majesty. A reception is
then held in the castle where everyone attends.
The Queen was the object
of abuse from students at Stirling University in the early 1970s. Are security
arrangements much stricter now as to make the royals unaccessible?
I’ve been with the Royal Family
for 30 years and it is the policy of the royals, all of them, that ‘we will be
accessible’…As police we’re not going to let security get in the way and become
like security for the U.S President. Now I’m not saying that’s good or
bad…they’ve got their way of doing it …we’ve got our way.
When we know what parameters to work under then we’ll avoid making that security
palpably overt…you’ll see me and a few others being inconspicuous, but unlike
the American security who make it very overt. Our royal family won’t allow that
and it works very well.
Compared with some other monarch such as, say Queen Victoria, and there were 4
attempts on her life by assassins…the present Queen’s life is much safer…whether
we’ve been lucky or security is better…and bearing mind we’ve had Malcolm
Sargent in the Mall, Ian Ball who tried to kidnap Princess Anne, or Michael
Fagan… we’ve improved immeasurably from Victorian times. We’ve got more police
officers on the ground, they tend to identify problems before they happen…we
search places, cars are not left unattended, officers have better training,
superb manpower, first class police service!
that incident at Stirling University, is there less anti-royal sentiment than
there was in the 1970s?
Well the Queen’s 88 and she’s
been on the throne for 62 years and has got so much respect, even amongst
fervent anti-royalists. In 1988 when Australia had a referendum on the issue of
whether to stay a monarchy (which was decided for by the narrowest of margins),
even the most ardent republicans were complaining that they weren’t invited to
events at which the Queen was present. They say “even if the Queen’s not our
idea of a head of state, we still want to meet her”.
In Britain people constantly asked the question ‘if we get rid of the monarchy,
what’s it going to be replaced by….an elected president voted in every four
Personally I can’t think of anything better to replace it. Anyway even if the
Queen’s 88 she’s in excellent health. And should the Queen eventually abdicate?
Personally I can’t think of any circumstance where the Queen might want to
abdicate…I hope that she doesn’t.
she likely to slow down?
According to the press she is,
but last year (2013) she did 344 engagements in the UK alone, whilst the Prince
of Wales did 442, the Princess Royal completed 432 and everyone else did less
engagements. That’s not what I would call slowing down. She’s certainly not
travelling abroad so much and I know that it knocked me for 6 when I did it. The
Duke’s 92 and he’s still working hard.
the monarchy be the same after this present Queen? Will Charles come to the
throne and if so will he take the name Charles or perhaps some other name (such
as George VII)?
Monarchs can choose their own
regnal name, it doesn’t have to be their own name. It has been reported that
Prince Charles says he does not plan to be Charles III because the name has been
unlucky for the previous King Charles. But this is all conjecture.
Personally I think he’d make a superb king, he’s been waiting long enough to
do it and he’s had masses of training….to pass him over in favour of Prince
William would create some kind of precedent but one that should not happen. It’s
his birthright, so why shouldn’t he be king?
He’s obviously not going to
reign for very long but William and Katherine would be fantastic when their time
comes, but if they did pass over Charles, his son would have the same problems
as the Queen had….he’d become king at a young age so..let him have some life,
there’s plenty of time to be head of state. Anyway the Queen’s going to live for
another 20 years!
William and Kate generating a new healthy image for the monarchy?
They already have. You can see
that wherever they go in the world. With them in the wings after Charles, the
monarchy is going to get stronger. Even though there’s been criticism of a well
meaning monarchy being screened by an overprotective court or royal household,
in reality the Queen and other royals always travel to engagements with a very
slim retinue consisting of a private secretary, ladies in waiting and an
equerry…that’s not like it was in Tudor or Stuart times.. monarchy is
approachable and economical.
1981 your modern running career began. What did it lead to?
As a youth I was an 800 metre
runner at town and county level. When I came to London I was a reasonable rugby
footballer playing at centre and wing. But for a while I didn’t do much sport
and needed to get fit. Then in the wake of the 1982 London Marathon Denis and I
decided to have a crack at it to raise funds for muscular dystrophy…I finished
this my first marathon in 3.57. For the next five years Denis and I ran London
together vying for the honour of a personal best. Denis got his down to 3.16 and
then I got a pb of 3.08 (clock time)….I just love running.
Then one day whilst out running I met Mick Gasson… he invited me to come and
join Blackheath Harriers but I said “ that’s an elite club”… “no it’s not” he
replied and so I went along and was introduced to Mike Peel who made me most
When I completed 40 marathons I met some guys from the ‘100 Marathon Club’ who
invited me to come with them on their trips. I went from one marathon a year to
8 or 9, then 10 or 20 year and then I’d done 100….200 and now I’ve done 238
marathons. However I’m retiring on 262 (a variant of 26.2) so I have 24 to go,
then I’ll quit! In my marathon running career I’ve been to Berlin, Stockholm,
Chicago, Rome, Paris, New York and other to numerous to mention.
What was your best marathon
performance or favorite marathon for that matter?
My best London was 3.08 but of
course there were no chips in those days so I had to accept the official time. I
have managed to run the London Marathon 32 times and have already been accepted
for the 2015 race. My favourite marathon was the Medoc Marathon.
Dave King, Peter Lovell, Denis Lawrie and I did it dressed as Hula Hula ladies
in fancy dress. Every mile ran through a different chateau where we each had a
glass of wine! 6 and ½ hours was the cut off so we took 6.15. You don’t want to
rush something that good…that’s 6 and ½ hours of drunken running! I’d recommend
that one to all your readers.
Is London so special a marathon or
other marathons ignored?
The London marathon gets much
publicity but is too big. You end up running 27 miles according to your garmin,
dodging people, but it is a great event. If you’re a runner you’ve got to run
London if only once. However I did Hamburg a few weeks ago.. It was an ideal
marathon…..there was room to move and it was flat.
And you’ve also attempted the
That came about one time when
Brian Todd mentioned to me that John Turner had an ambition to form a team of 4
runners to complete the London to Brighton Road Race. Starting off from Big Ben
we would run to Brighton Pier, a distance of 55 miles. I managed to complete the
race 3 times, twice beating the cut off time of 10 hours. I was never part of a
Harriers team that managed to get a team home but in 1996 Gareth was part of the
team, including John Turner and Brian Smith that not only completed the race but
won silver medals in the AAA Athletics ultra distance championships. In 1998
Gareth and I decided to run the race and finish together. Unfortunately our
plans didn’t quite work out and Gareth got to the finish area 1 hour before me
but refused to cross the line until I arrived. He waited just short of the line
for over an hour much to the consternation of the officials and we crossed the
line together! Ultras are all about training, hour after hour of long slow
training runs. For the Comrades marathon, 55 miles from Durban to
Petermaritzberg in South Africa I trained from 8am to 2pm with Dave King most
Sundays. I have also completed two 24 hour track races, my best performance was
when I covered 101 miles or something like 410 laps of a running track, madness!
Common question for all new
presidents especially those joining before the early 90s. How has the club
changed in the last 25 years or so?
The most noticeable
change since I joined is the lack of interest in Mob Matches. When I joined the
club you were expected to compete in all mob matches. I remember Mike Peel
saying that you had to have ‘a sick note or a letter from your mum saying that
you couldn’t attend. We used to be over 100 in our side. I remember Anne Celia
taking over 70 runners to Orion. But recently we took 25 runners to the last
Orion away match.
Running these fixtures on Saturdays does not help as more people work that day
now. I am trying to change our home matches to a Sunday morning. It’s pointless
having mob matches with only 25 runners. We can’t carry on like this and unless
we do something radical such as moving the fixture to Sundays we won’t have
these matches in 10 years. If we match our 25 against the opposition’s 90 then
we’ll know the result of the match before it starts. For this season only Orion
and Ranelagh Harriers have agreed to come to our home matches on a Sunday
morning. It will be interesting to see if there is any more support for these
The Wednesday Nighter’s Christmas
Suppers a key fixture in the club’s social calendar seemed in danger of becoming
a tame affair. Is it now making it’s way back as a popular event?
Always a great night and most
years this has been sold out several weeks before the event. We had to make a
few changes to the style and content particularly as this is now a mixed club.
It does of course compete with other Christmas events which put demands of
people’s money but so long as people want it we’ll continue to organize it.
Is there a danger that people find
themselves volunteering for jobs out of a sense of duty or
All Clubs need volunteers to keep running and it amazes me how much is done by
so few at Harriers. Wine Committee and House and Social, Coaches and Officials
and other volunteers. We need more helpers especially younger ones. Great this
year that Deniz Mehmet and Gareth Griffin have initiated barbeques every fourth
Wednesday, and Tim Ayres does a fantastic job in coaching on Wed Nights.
I appreciate that volunteering requires time and effort but if anyone
wants to volunteer I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a place for them. We have
a small core of volunteers all over 60 and many well into their 70s. It would be
nice to welcome parents of juniors to get more involved and to help raise funds
for their children’s athletics.
You’ve already given the
club an idea of your visions for the coming year but do you wish to achieve
athletic excellence without elitism?
Harriers are a great athletics
club but we are a success because although we are a centre of Athletic
Excellence we also encourage athletes of all abilities. At our recent Marathon
Supper our guests from Orpington Road Runners expressed their surprise in how
inclusive we were. We’re not elitist and to illustrate this Dina Asher Smith
recently gave a talk to a local prep school and was inspirational. Her main
point was that even if you’re not a naturally gifted athlete the club can
encourage you to improve and give more than your best.
family are healthily involved in the club. Does this promise many future
generations of Griffin harriers?
The Future of the Griffins is
bright, Gareth has run over 30 marathons, my daughter in law Chanese has run the
Rome Marathon and granddaughters Isla, and Heath attend the Bees Academy. My
eldest grandson, Joshua, regularly wins the sprint races at his school sports.
My wife Sheila is in charge of all the club kit as well as assisting me with the
organization of The Parris Handicap. She also supports the bar wholeheartedly
Finally would you
describe you mission as one of reconciliation?
People drop out of the club for
various reasons, personal to themselves. Anyone who has left us in recent years
has been visited by me and most have come back. Some left for lifestyle reasons
but others such as Dave King and Mark Skelly have come back when their
particular concerns were resolved. Also we are looking to interest complete
outsiders into joining the club…that’s why I got you to produce the flyer. From
this we are getting runners in the park runs interested in the club including a
chap who has gone on to win the recent Ted Pepper race.
WO. Dick, this has been a most
interesting evening and thank you for sparing the time to take part in this