Norman Wilson 1931-2017

Funeral Details
Friday 10th March 1pm Springwood Crematorium, Springwood Avenue, Liverpool,L25 7UN.
Followed by refreshments at the Crown Plaza Liverpool Aerodrome, Speke L24 8QD
Please note parking is free if you give your registration number to reception on arrival.


Norman Wilson, who was one of the most influential figures in Sefton Harriers’ history during the second half of the twentieth century died in Whiston hospital on 25th February 2017, aged 85 years.

Growing up in Everton, Norman was a keen cyclist as a boy and found a liking for running during his national service in the RAF in the early 1950s. After completing an extended national service due to the Korean war, Norman returned to Liverpool and found employment working for British Rail, it was there he met Andy Bryrne a fellow runner who recruited him into Sefton Harriers in 1954.

Norman Wilson 1989

Norman Wilson 1989

Norman attended the Sefton Saturday afternoon club runs from West Derby Village Hall where he met and was impressed by the Sefton club captain Bert Searle, who went on to guide Norman during his first few years in competitive running. Norman would relate the story of how all new members were invited to shake the hand of the 1900 double Olympic champion Jack Rimmer.

Norman was a keen cross country and road runner regularly turning out and scoring in the Sefton teams during 1950s and 60s. He ran a number of marathons, achieving a best time of 2 hours 37 minutes He also once took part in the Liverpool to Blackpool ultra marathon and finished in a commendable third place with a time of 5 hours 45 minutes.

In the early 1960s, Norman succeeded Bert as club captain and with the support of athletes such as Brendan Deary, Steve Rodgers and John Balmer, Sefton enjoyed their best post-war years, however this lasted only a few years and by ‘1968’ Sefton were in the doldrums suffering from low numbers and being unable to field teams in local competition. However what Sefton lacked in numbers they more than made up for in drive and determination, and along with others Norman was at the front of an innovation of advertising for runners in the local press. This enterprise resulted in a number of new recruits who were to play a major part in the club’s future.

During the 1970s, Norman continued to turn out for the club whenever possible and even ran a couple of marathons during the twilight of his running career. Still as busy as ever in regards building the club spirit and identity by organising social events including the annual hot pot suppers which proved very popular. Norman, ably supported by his wife Mary, took over the production of the Sefton Harriers kit for a few years in the 1970s.

As Sefton Harriers approached their centenary in 1989 Norman undertook a number of roles including organising the centenary dinner which included contacting many members of the club both old and new. The dinner was a great success with Mike Turner being the guest speaker. Norman’s most daunting and massive undertaking during the 1988/89 period was to bring together a documentation of the club’s history, which he delivered on time and is perhaps his greatest legacy to Sefton Harriers. The book was published in the summer of 1989, it was entitled “Sefton Harriers A Centenary History 1889-1989” and proved extremely popular. The history not only documented the highs and lows of the club but more importantly it captured the character and sprit of Sefton Harriers especially in the post-war years.

In the early 1990s, Norman succeed Reg Vaughan as Sefton Harriers’ president, he was in office during what proved to be the most interesting and challenging time in the club’s history as we discussed, debated and finally voted to merge with Pembroke in 1995. Throughout this period Norman’s objectivity, clarity and vision kept the process on track, and helped lay the foundations of LPS.

An ongoing heart problem had curtailed Norman’s running activities by the 1980s although he was still able to get out on his bike regularly. A heart bypass operation was needed by 2008 and, ever the optimist, Norman got himself in the best shape possible for the surgery and reaped the benefits of a number of years of improved health and activity which saw him back on his bike once again.

Unfortunately, the last 12 months proved difficult and Norman was in hospital on a number of occasions. He was optimistic throughout his stay and praised the NHS and work of the staff at every opportunity

There were many other aspects to Norman’s life, including his music and his work as a carpenter but he was first and foremost a devoted family man. His long and successful marriage to Mary (they celebrated 50 years last July) was I believe his proudest achievement. The joy he generated when talking of his sons Peter and Russell and the delight his grandchildren brought to him was contagious, he even wrote songs for his grandchildren.

Norman Wilson, yours was a life well lived and it was my privilege to have known you.

Funeral Details
Friday 10th March 1pm Springwood Crematorium, Springwood Avenue, Liverpool,L25 7UN.
Followed by refreshments at the Crown Plaza Liverpool Aerodrome, Speke L24 8QD
Please note parking is free if you give your registration number to reception on arrival.

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10 Responses to Norman Wilson 1931-2017

  1. Ken Davies February 26, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

    I was very sorry to hear from Robbie that Norman Wilson had passed away. I ran many training and racing miles with Norman in the 1960’s, yes that is over 50 years ago! Norman was a great inspiration to me as a new runner showing that hard work would eventually bring results, as I was to find out. I also spent many fun weekends with Pembroke and Sefton guys in the Lake District with Norman and his guitar entertaining a pub full of runners and locals at the post race wind down. Happily I was able to keep in touch with Mary and Norman over the years. He will be greatly missed. From Ken Davies

  2. Charles Gains February 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    I met up with Norman on my return to Merseyside in 1971. He was still running and a ferocious competitor! When the Pembroke/Sefton merger was proposed in 1995 he was a wonderful supporter given the long tradition of the two club`s co-operation and friendship. It was the likes of Norman and Pembroke`s Les Williams that made the LPS of today possible. We owe him a great debt. He will be remembered fondly for decades to come.

  3. Alan Cooper February 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    I first met Norman in the mid 80’s when joining Sefton and, over the years, got to appreciate his quietly understated good humour and his unfailing encouragement and support for our club. He was one of the vital cogs in the machinery which ensured the smooth running of our club. I recall his singing and guitar playing at our yearly Sefton weekends at Maeshafn in North Wales. While we drove there, he and Mary would cycle! There are many unsung heroes and it would be good for every runner to look around the next time they toe the line, as the cold rain lashes down at a cross country fixture and give a nod in the direction where Norman would have stood, shouting encouragement to each club member as they pass. Thanks for everything Norman.

  4. Andy Willan February 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    It is with great sadness to hear of Norman’s passing, particularly in the manner of his leaving. He didn’t deserve to end his days in such poor health and my heartfelt condolences go to Mary, Peter, Russell and family. Although none of us are immortal, some people you cannot imagine no longer being with us; Norman Wilson is one of those people such is the impact he had on all of us and the contribution he made to life in sport, music, his family and wider society. As he once advised me in my youth “be more than a spectator in the passing parade”.

    I knew Norman in the many different aspects of his life and he was a great influence on me in my 20s and 30s. In running terms Norman’s contribution to Sefton and LPS was widespread, as a runner; club official; expert course marker and gifted writer of the history of Sefton Harriers, as Robbie has mentioned. If I were to think of one single outstanding memory the biathlon he hosted to celebrate his 60th birthday will live forever.

    The last time I saw Norman was at a funeral and I attended the funerals of several former members of Sefton Harriers with him In the 1980s. Now I will be attending his own to pay my respects to one of the best human beings I have had the privilege to know and be both a friend and colleague of.

    RIP Norman, you’ll be sadly missed.

  5. george willan February 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    George Willan.I first met Norman when Sefton Harriers advertised in the Liverpool Echo in the late1960’s for new members and I and several others,Robbie Wood MikeTravis and others joined.Norman was the senior figure in the club and gave all us new members encouragement and advice.Our headquarters was West Derby village hall for our Saturday cross country runs.We all had great enjoyment pounding over the Croxteth Park muddy fields.
    Norman was a great organiser Sefton Harrier social nights,Christmas Handicap social events et al. We all give our sympathies to Mary his wife and his sons Peter and Russell and wish Norman peace and happiness in heaven.RIP Norman.

  6. Thomas Allan March 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    So sorry to hear about Norman. Was past secretary of Sefton Harriers and enjoyed the runs from West Derby in the 1950s. Hope to catch up with all past members when we pay our respects on the 10th March.

    • Robbie Wood March 3, 2017 at 10:45 am #

      Nice to hear from you Tommy, it must be 30 years since our paths crossed. See you on 10th March

  7. Brian Flanagan March 3, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

    It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Norman RIP. I met Norman when I joined Sefton in 1973 and became very good friends. I had the utmost respect for Norman both as a person and a runner. A true gentleman Norman, it was a pleasure to have known you. Rest in Peace

    • Tony Swindlehurst March 6, 2017 at 1:33 am #

      It is with great sadness that I hear of the passing of Norman Wilson. When I started out running in the late 50’s early 60’s Norman was one of the great characters around. A good bloke and a loyal Sefton Harrier. In those days irrespective of club we used to train and socialize together a lot and Norman was always there a central figure in the group.He was a good runner too.Not seen him for a while as I have been living overseas but good memories of Norman live on.Another one gone.Only recently I was back home in Liverpool to attend Mike Turner’s funeral.But life goes on. Tony Swindlehurst Liverpool Harriers Thailand

  8. John Dobiej March 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    Sorry to here the passing of Norman Wilson.Great Sefton runner, diplomat, committee member.Also had a great sense of humour with a true scouse wit.I had many a discussion with Norman over the years from when I joined the club in 1979.I found he was very knowledgable on many subjects from Athletics,Football,Music,History,Poetry etc.Norman was a very humane person my late wife Jenny and I never forgot his kindness when he visited me in hospital in 1996 with his Sefton friends after my near fatal accident he also came to my wife Jens funeral when he was not in the best of health himself.That was typical of Norman brave to the end.R.I.P. Norman Great Respect.