By Dan Walsh
The death has taken place of George Blackburn, (82), after a short illness, the legendary coach at Westbury Harriers in Bristol and Irish international cross-country runner who was a native of County Wexford.
Son of the late Tom and Annie, George was born at Ballydawmore, Monageer, in 1938, he was an ourstanding hurler and footballer with Monageer-Boolavogue and won two county senior hurling championship medals with Enniscorthy St. Aidan’s GAA in 1958 and 1959, before emigrating to the UK in 1961.
As both an athlete and coach at Westbury Harriers in Bristol, George had many successes.
The following tribute by Chris Buckley appears today on the I Was, Or Am A Runner Facebook page:
“Sadly, today we lost our Mr Westbury Harriers, George Blackburn passed away, George had a stroke a month ago, but sadly didn’t recover.
He enjoyed life right up until the end, playing golf the day before his stroke. He was an inspiration and the life & soul of Westbury Harriers and à funny man with many a bad joke.”
He was the backbone of Westbury Harriers colts/boys/youths/ Juniors/ men’s section in the 70s/80s/90s and all success was down to him, his leadership, dedication, and competitiveness shone through, coached many to international success.
George Blackburn’s sporting prowess is recognised with pride across County Wexford, and in the Enniscorthy area in particular, and he always received a champion reception on his home visits and is mourned by family and friends on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Sympathy is extended to his partner Fran; brothers Tom and Aidan, sister Nancy and the late Phyllis. May he rest in Peace.
Funeral will take place in Bristol.