Jarrow and Hebburn Athletic Club wish to announce the very sad passing of one of its oldest and dearest members, John Keefe.

John was a member of the club from 1945 when he lived in Shakespeare Avenue in Hebburn. He joined the club from the Army Cadets, and the town’s Youth Organisation Committee’s works, instituted by the club’s founder Sir John Jarvis. John became an integral part of the club’s success in those early years, together with training friends like Tommy Power.

John (Left) training with Tommy Power

John raced for the club for decades and was Club Captain in the 1950s. He was incredibly a club member over nine decades! He was a key part of the club’s relay squads over all sprint distances and the mile. John was a multiple individual winner at a host of events both locally and on our travels.

Winning in Berwick

Most importantly is the life John breathed into the club. Those nine decades were notable for consistent club support. He attended all club events, supporting us at races and at formal functions. He was one of those people whose camaraderie was so important to club life.

John, bottom right, amongst other legends like Bob Charlton, Tommy Power, and Jimmy Hedley.

He was also a prominent, regular, and popular part of the regional athletics scene, with involvement as an official at that level.

John on the right as Steve Cram wins his warm-up race at Gateshead for the 1983 World Championship win.

Steve Cram, as Club President, sums up John perfectly in his own words, “John was an immense presence in the club and the wider athletics community, somewhat belying his quiet, gentle manner. He continually gave up his time and energy to help others enjoy our great sport and never sought thanks or reward. As a youngster I first thought he exuded authority and stature, but I grew to appreciate his calming approach and his natural wisdom and intelligence. John commanded enormous respect from all those around him for many reasons but perhaps because he was incredibly reliable and always fair and polite. Just a really nice person.  He was forever encouraging to me and I will always remember his warm smile and kindly words.” Steve Cram CBE

When the club celebrated its 80th anniversary, John was one of the few members awarded a prestigious Jarvis Award. We will greatly miss him.

John Keefe

Jarrow and Hebburn Athletic Club – 1945 to 2020

Remembering John Keefe