THE track will never be the same without him.

That is the view held by his sporting family following the death of Warrington Athletics Club stalwart Neville Jones, aged 82.

His funeral will take place on Thursday, January 10, at Walton Lea Crematorium at 3.40pm.

The funeral procession will be leaving from the athletics track at Victoria Park at around 3.15pm.

Nev, a window cleaner who devoted almost 60 years of his life to athletics at the Victoria Park club, died on December 19.

He had been in hospital since being found collapsed at his Orford home on the morning of the club's last Walton Gardens schools cross-country race on December 8.

Club chiefs reported the runners in the current group he coaches have been left 'heartbroken' by the sad news.

With Nev having touched the lives of so many people in Warrington, they are not on their own.

Warrington Guardian:

Neville Jones, right, supporting the club from the sidelines as he so often was.

A club statement, reaching out to Nev, says: "To Neville, our most valued and longest-serving member - rest in peace.

"The track will never be the same without you. You will be forever remembered in all the club’s future successes. Thank you for all you have done for the club and from athletes new and old."

Club officials are reflecting on how Nev was seen at the track at Victoria Park, running and coaching, every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for almost 60 years.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Athletics Club's Victoria Park home

"The club was a massive part of Neville’s life and, after having never married, he devoted his time and effort into mentoring athletes at his beloved track," continues the statement.

”It was clear to all that his heart was with the club, and, as a result, there was much love and respect for him.

"Everyone saw Neville as the corner-stone of Warrington Athletic Club – a legend."


Not only is it the dedication he showed that is being remembered now.

"Commitment aside, his character, smile and sense of humour will be sorely missed," continues the statement.

"He maintained his old-school values and witty comebacks and always demonstrated a considerable knowledge of athletics."

He very much played an unsung hero role too.

"Whatever the weather, Neville would make it to Victoria Park on his bike or, more recently, on the bus," says the statement.

"Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening (and Saturday and Sundays too!) he could be seen laying out the hurdles on the 100m straight and then putting them back in the container when everyone had left."

Neville first visited the track around 1962.

It is known that he confidently commented to Bert Quennell, another of the club's highly respected stalwarts, that he would soon be beating him in races.

He soon became an accomplished middle/long distance runner, including a notable 2hrs 40mins marathon performance.

Putting Nev's contribution to the club into perspective, he will not have been far off 10,000 visits to the track.

"Rumour has it that he was seriously contemplating setting up a bed there," says the statement.


He competed up until 2016, taking part in a many park runs over the last few years and, most recently, a Halewood 5k in support of prostate cancer.

Around 1969, Neville started coaching.


Though initially focussed on endurance, it was coaching hurdling where Neville soon excelled.

"He has coached athletes such as national champion, Jeff Browne, GB representatives James Gladman and Abi Fitzpatrick and more recently, the very successful hurdlers Ashley Kirsopp, Cameron Meakin and Meg Corker," says the statement.


"His current group including Meg Corker, Evie Schofield and Lisa Halliday are heartbroken at his loss.

"Neville always supported his athletes away from the track by attending their events, quite often getting there on the bus or train."

For a period, he also provided reports of his athletes' successes for publishing in Warrington Guardian.

In addition to his coaching, he also served as fixtures and officials secretary for the club and could always be found on the starting podium as race starter or the finishing gantry as a timekeeper at various meetings.

He really enjoyed playing a vital role in the planning and running of the annual schools' cross country races at Walton Gardens.

The statement adds: "Perhaps Neville’s most notable achievement (as stated by Bert) is the number of children he has kept off the streets, from getting into trouble.

"His dedication and instruction has provided hundreds of kids with a strong focus and purpose in their lives.

"Although he would be straight-forward in his ability assessment and made no promises, he was inclusive and guided athletes to genuine improvement.

"For those less fortunate, Neville has also been known to pay their annual membership fees."

In the recent words of the club's international masters runner Nick Jones: "Neville was a true WAC hero."