Ernie Eames – RSCAC Legend

A very dark cloud hangs over the headquarters of RSCAC and Wyndley Track following the news of the death of one of our club’s founding members, Ernie Eames, on Thursday 14th October 2021 at the age of 89 years. He was surrounded by his caring wife Val and their 3 grown up children 

Earlier this year Ernie and Val had celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary and it was only in July that he was appointed President of RSCAC in recognition of his services to the Club.

Athletics was in his blood and whilst in the RAF he started competing some 70 years ago, competing in track and field, road running and cross country in the winter, sometimes taking part in 2 races in a single weekend. As a result, in taking on a new job, Ernie joined Sparkhill Harriers, but after a number of years he moved to Sutton. When a shale track was laid for the first time on the current track’s location in the early 1970s, a meeting was called shortly afterwards by local councillors to explore setting up an athletics club for the town. And so formed RSCAC, with founding members: Marjory Carpenter (local councillor), Tom Wyer, Doc Campbell (a chemistry teacher at John Willmott School), Conrad Philips and Ernie Eames.

The club was initially given 2 rooms at the leisure centre as changing rooms – it wasn’t until 1989 that we started to rent our now clubhouse. This building started life as ‘The Wyndley Café’ in the 1970s, until it was forced to close in 1974 when Wyndley Leisure Centre’s café was used instead and our clubhouse building was then used by the Wyndley groundsman to store his tools and tractor. Sadly, it kept getting broken into so his tools were moved under the swimming baths and by the time RSCAC took it on in 1989 it was a derelict building.

Ernie helped create the club back in 1973 and was instrumental in growing the club as one of our initial coaches, as well as in getting us an all-weather track in 1984 (replacing the initial shale one) and the track we have at present in 2005, for all of which the club had to raise the necessary funding. As Ernie took on the role of Treasurer in 1994, the planning, fundraising and delivery work for the current track required a vast amount of work from him. This was nothing new for Ernie as a lot of the work required at the club would fall to Ernie to complete himself -whether it was a requirement to strengthen the wood on the timekeepers’ stand or to act as Team Manager. It would be Ernie who would book and organise the bus company to take him and the athletes to an away fixture whether it was in south Wales, Yeovil or wherever else, and it would be Ernie who would telephone parents giving them an expected time that the bus company would return to Wyndley that night. He has been instrumental in growing the Club to its present strength and would enjoy watching his Club members take part in the various leagues that we were affiliated to.

The Club has been a never-ending job for Ernie, who would sometimes spend a vast majority of the day working at the Track. It became a ‘second home’ to him. He would also get his wife Val involved, for example buying food for all the officials on competition day. Even as late as 5 years ago, he was coaching athletes how to Pole Vault, with a group of interested youngsters and adults who always won valuable points for their team when competing.

He had been Club Treasurer for 27 years, and whilst holding other positions on the Management Committee, he could often be found collecting training fees at the Club house entrance, and at the end of the day counting it all up before proceeding to bank the proceeds the following day. He would ensure that all bills were paid in time and the good reputation of the club spread far and wide across the nation.

He always wanted the club to have a good and friendly aspect to it and this he achieved quickly and still the club maintains this reputation for there are many occasions where you will see children and their parents training at the club. You even see parents and their children competing for the club at different events on the same day or possibly even competing in the same event!

One can almost visualise seeing Ernie asking to organise the ‘Heavenly Games’, asking, ‘Who would be up for doing the 100m sprint?’ And, ‘Who is prepared to record the times!’

RIP dear Ernie – we shall miss you very much.

Roy Humpherson 29/05/1943 – 17/08/2021

Tuesday 17th August, 2021 was a dark day for Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club and in particular for the older generation of our club members both past and present.

Roy, as was usual, taking his training group out on a ‘warm up’ enjoying the scenery in Sutton Park when he suddenly collapsed. Despite ambulance, police and the calling in of Midlands Air Ambulance attending to Roy, who had had a heart attack, they were all unable to save him and he passed away without pain or discomfort, doing something he loved doing.

On the following training night, a very sombre and shocked group of senior runners met outside the clubhouse, trying to understand and accept what had happened and were joined by Roy’s children John and Jo. Shortly afterwards a group of about 40 or so athletes went out through the park to the place where Roy had collapsed, to pay their final respects.

The news of Roy’s passing quickly spread near and far, and enjoyable stories were being relaid by his colleagues. 

Roy had joined the club back in 1987 aged 44, competing in both Cross Country and Track and Field (Vets section), but since reaching 70 years of age, he became a permanent fixture in both the Masters and Veterans team competing in a wide range of events from 200m up to 3000m, and took part in the 2k walk to earn valuable points for the club. Since reaching 75 years of age, he currently holds 4 club records in 100m and 200m, Triple Jump and Shot Putt. As late as the week before his untimely death, Roy had taken part in a Vets Track and Field competition at Burton, participating in a sprint event as well as throwing again to earn the club valuable points.

He was always keen for members of his squad to take part in the Vets league. He even completed in the London marathon, back in 2009, achieving a time of 3hours 22mins.38sec (an excellent time for a 66 year old). Another of his attributes was to introduce new events to the club such as the Shugborough Relays (now known as Stafford Relays), and introduced a Grand Prix series to the senior athletes to include a wide range of different distance events in the locality.

He was a committed team manager for the ladies Cross Country team – persuading lady members of his group to take part no matter about their level of keenness, frequently involving picking them up from their homes to ensure they took part and generally arrived at each fixture with a car full. Recently, his team of girls achieved promotion to Division 1 of the Birmingham and District, probably the highlight of his job as team manager. He would listen to all their moans and groans about how cold/wet/hilly/muddy it was going to be and yet still he was able to run around the course shouting encouraging words for his athletes, regardless of what weather conditions prevailed at the time. It was Roy who took on the responsibility of ensuring the girls were at the start line in good time, carrying all their valuables whilst they raced, and everything he did was much appreciated by his girls. From their prospective, cross country won’t be the same, but the team will always have that voice in the back of their minds, encouraging them to keep going no matter how tough the going is.

Roy enjoyed other activities including cycling where he would join other like-minded athletes to take part in another sport, whilst recovering from other injuries. Long before he joined RSCAC he was a member of North Birmingham CTC cycling two or three times a week, doing as much as 50 to 60 miles each trip at a very respectable pace. He led rides regularly and as a result became a stalwart of the cycling scene. A matter of a few days before his untimely death, he led a club ride with no let up in his level of pace.

He was also a keen golfer where he played regularly at Seedy Mill Golf Course in Lichfield, where hitting a ball over 200 yards was not a problem to him.

Even with all these hobbies of his, Roy still found time to have an interest in classic cars and restoring them where needed.

He was a devoted family man and a devoted grandad. The club and particularly his cross country girls, his training squad, and his fellow cyclists will miss him a great deal.

He will be cremated at Sutton Crematorium, Tamworth Road, Sutton Coldfield on Tuesday 14th September, 2021 at 12.15pm

100 CLUB JULY WINNERS

£50   no. 66   Derek Prince

£30   no. 33   Megan Evans

£25   no. 71   Angie Prince

£15   no. 17   Fay Pollock

£15   no. 37   Bridget Mills

£15   no. 3     Alison Evetts


Thank you to all 100 Club members for your support.
There are still numbers available at an annual fee of £16.20 a number. Interested – for further information email –  johnmills12@yahoo.com

President Ernie Eames

Today we honoured our dearest Ernie by awarding him the position of Club President.  We were blessed with nice weather, great company and delicious cakes!  Ernie is one of the club’s founding members who has volunteered avidly for the club in many roles (coach, committee member, treasurer, official, team manager and competition manager) since the club’s inception in 1973.  Thanks for EVERYTHING you’ve done for RSCAC over your 48 years’ service Ernie.  And thank you Val for all the hours you’ve allowed Ernie to give up for our club.  

100 Club March Draw (draw made by Mrs. Mills)

£50 Alex Buchanan (75)

£30 Sally Knell (2)

£25 Ruth Dobbins (46)

£15 Trevor Brown (55)

£15 Ian Riley (13)

£15 Barry Overy (32)

Congratulations to all our winners and thankyou to everyone for your support. Apologies in advance to all you lucky winners, because of the present situation it will take a little longer than usual to get the cheques to you. Numbers still available – for information email johnmills12@yahoo.com  

Many thanks. Stay safe and well.

£100 Won in 100 Club Draw

CONGRATULATIONS to Micky Browne, the winner of £100 in this year’s 100 Club Single Number Draw, with ball number 14.

A big thankyou to you all for your support of the 100 Club which raises money for club funds.

Numbers are still available – a snip at £16.20 a year. Email johnmills12@yahoo.com for further information.

Please stay safe and well and have a wonderful Christmas.

New EA Guidance – Seniors Take Note

Hi all. Updated RA guidance.

https://bit.ly/GuidanceDec4

❗Seniors, please note: Over 18s living in Tier 3 cannot travel to another Tier 3 to train or compete (unless for individual training – so if a senior is training alone, they can cross to another Tier 3.) Over 18s who are disabled and coaches can cross to another Tier 3, inline with rules for u18s.

For U18s, training is the same as before Lockdown 2.