Funeral will be at Thornton Crematorium on Wednesday 28th February at 13.30
One of most memorable and pleasant characters of local athletics sadly passed away on the 2nd February 2024 at the age of 89. Albert ‘Bertie’ Knowles had been involved in athletics for over 70 years.
As a young boy growing up in post war Liverpool he joined the local branch of the Boys Brigade, he took part in all their sporting activities but it was cross country that really captured his imagination, coupled with an above average running ability his destiny was set, he wanted to be a runner. The Boys Brigade played an influential part in Bertie’s formative years and he was grateful for the opportunities it gave including once having a part as an extra in the film ‘An Alligator named Daisy’ staring Diane Dors no less!
He joined Liverpool Boundary Harriers as a young teenager his father was an official with Boundary and Bertie had a very successful time winning many young athletes races including the Liverpool and District Cross Country Union youths championships in 1952. Bertie was a gifted middle distance athlete but he always preferred long distance but cross country was his favourite discipline.
In his twenties Bertie changed clubs to Waterloo Harriers as he was living in Seaforth and married with a young family, Waterloo was the closer to get to for training. He was a regular at road and cross country races as a competitor throughout the North West from the 1950s until the early 1990s. He would travel using public transport and was friends with so many of the athletes from that era. Ron Hill and Bertie once had a memorable evening drinking in a railway bar on there way home after running a road race in Cumbria.
During the early 1970s Waterloo Harriers had talks with Sefton Harriers about a possible merger however that merger never happened and Waterloo subsequently merged with Southport. Bertie along with a few others decided to leave Waterloo at this time and he joined Sefton. Bertie became a popular and reliable club man at Sefton and remained associated as an honorary Life Vice President with LPS until his death. He was great friends with Charles Gaines they competed against each other as youngsters. Charles once told me he “was thrilled to at last be in the same club as Bertie” when Pembroke & Sefton merged in 1995.
The Parbold Hill race was an event much loved by Bertie he took part in the first race and for over 40 years he only missed one event as either an athlete or as the starter.
It will be as a starter that many people will remember Bertie. After a full and active career as an athlete his knees final forced him to stop running but he wanted to stay involved with the sport he loved and with the encouragement and help from the late Bill Graves in 1991 Bertie took up starting. For the next 30 years he was a regular at lots of events in the Merseyside and wider area. No event was to big or too small for Bertie, if it was a local primary school event in the other part of the city Bertie would travel on public transport wearing his bright red blazer normally arriving an hour early. He was to be seen starting at many road, cross country and track & field events.
Bertie had a full and enjoyable life in athletics which took in over eight decades, he got a great deal of pleasure out of the sport of athletics but more importantly he put a lot more back into our sport than he ever took out and we are all grateful for people like him.
It was great to have known you were Bertie and thanks for so many happy memories.