Tributes for “Mr Athletics” as Preston Harriers coach Bob Welfare passes away

Tributes have been flooding in following the death of Preston Harriers coach Bob Welfare.

Welfare, 73, who lost a long battle with cancer last week, was a major influence to many athletes over a coaching career that spanned almost 40 years.

Bob was responsible for guiding many track and field youngsters to success, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Bob Welfare

Olympian John Nuttall, who worked under Welfare, said: “Bob played a huge part in the development pathway in the club.

“He was totally dedicated to Preston Harriers and the athletes – it really made a difference to me.”

Preston Harriers vice chairman Dale Wellis said: “He was the font of all knowledge.

“Just a lovely person, nothing was ever too much trouble for him.”

Bob became a part of the club in 1981 when he joined as an athlete. Fast forward to the present day, and the athletics club have more than 500 members, with over half of them juniors.

The news was announced on the Harriers website, and read: “For Preston Harriers he was instrumental in so many initiatives and he was a patient, understanding coach, who adored working with all the juniors over so many years.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone at the club and in the wider athletics community.”

Welfare was responsible for coaching several notable athletes during his time at the club, including Olympian Helen Clitheroe.