Special and natural coach is mourned by Athletics club

Special and natural coach is mourned by Athletics club

Tributes have been paid to Newquay and Par Athletics Club stalwart Clive Marsh who passed away recently.

By Gareth Davies

17th March 2021

Tributes have been paid to Newquay and Par Athletics Club stalwart Clive Marsh who passed away recently.

In a moving testimony to Clive, who held both coaching and officer titles at the club, since his first association in 1985, he was described as having ‘sheer enthusiasm for people and the human spirit’.

Clive has helped to develop and nurture a number of exceptional athletes which include English Schools and national high jump champion Sam Brereton. Also the under-15 national championship record holder in 2017, Brereton is viewed as a full international prospect.

Along with Brereton, pole vaulter Jasmin Hicks was also coached by Clive and she too holds an English school’s championship at under-15 level while in the same discipline, Lucy Allen has picked up a national silver medal in her promising career to date.

Other talented athletes who have benefited from Clive’s expertise in recent years include Jordan Henwood (under-15 national silver medal), Bo Rason (third place in the English school’s under-15 pole vault) plus three more English school’s competitors in Isaac Vassell and Charlotte Lowe (pole vault) along with high jumper James Housman.

“After first bringing his son to the club some 36 years ago, Clive first became a parent helper,” the emotional tribute began. “He progressed to become a coach, team manager, track and field official and club officer – becoming one of the key members of the club.

“His hard work and influence is evident throughout the club and at the track although Clive had a light-hearted side too as days away at league meetings with him were legendary.

“They were full of fun and enthusiasm and always finishing with a gargantuan roast dinner.

“As a coach, Clive firstly channelled his talent into throws where both his daughter Kim and son Brett, competed at County and South West level. Kim went on to finish eighth in the English Schools National Discus Final at Nottingham on her 14th birthday.

“This was before Clive focused on the pole vault and high jump, enthusiastically reading and watching as many videos as he could on the events and constantly talking to other coaches. All this while working twelve-hour shifts. That dedication and expertise resulted in him winning the 2006 South West Performance Coach of the Year. He was respected by other coaches up to National level and well known for his broad Cornish accent.

“For Clive, it was always about the athlete. He quietly worked with the athletes, never wanting to take the limelight but he was so much more than just a superb coach. He was a real character, full of life, drive and sheer enthusiasm for people and the human spirit.

“It was amazing to see him on a Thursday engaged with the young eight to eleven-year-olds and then in a flash, be able to connect with teenagers and coach them specific technical sessions. This is a truly special skill, and he was a natural.”

Along with his coaching role at the club, Clive was also a willing volunteer at their home base at Park Track – only relinquishing the role when his health deteriorated as the tribute explained.

“When the role of groundsman became free at Par Track, he enthusiastically added this skill to his portfolio until he was no longer fit enough to fulfil the role. Clive suffered ill health over a few years, but you would never have known it.

“He continued to work tirelessly for the athletes, wanting to help them be the best they can be as an athlete and person. The messages posted on the clubs Facebook page express how respected and loved Clive was, not only at the club but at County and South West level.

“He has left a real legacy., The club grew with Clive's dedication and his athletes are not only great at their sport, but wonderful individuals and he has passed his coaching methods and knowledge onto other coaches. We will all miss Clive and we all have our own memories of him. He was very special.”