West Midlands Regional Council

Council Members

  • Stuart Paul (Chair)
  • David Ashbourne
  • Martin Flowers
  • Margaret Afford
  • Yasmine Al-Daffary
  • Kevin Oakes
  • Paul Gair (co-opted)

You can get in touch via westmidschair@englandathletics.org

Stuart Paul

Stuart Paul I got involved in the sport through my family, my mother Janet, was coached by Nelson Neal, and achieved modest success, before I arrived and ruined her career!  She then got involved with Sportshall athletics in 1978, and together we ended up running the Birmingham league for nearly 40 years.

When my brother Andy joined Birchfield Harriers I was asked to volunteer helping with results and officiating. I took on organising the Birchfield Open and became the club’s Promotions Officer. I have now been on club committee for almost 20 years. I also coordinate the club’s heritage work and am writing a book on the club’s first 100 Olympians.

The late John Bullen, and his wife Maureen recruited me into being an official – I tried most of the disciplines but concentrated on being a Starter’s Assistant (marksman) – I achieved Grade One (now level 4) in 1997 and have been officiating at meetings ever since, – including Olympic, World, Para, European and Commonwealth Games. This year I’m the Lead for the UKA Starter/SA Peer Group, just one of several officials’ groups I contribute to.

Since retirement from teaching I have become a Couch to 5k graduate and have almost completed my first 100 Park runs. I occasionally Orienteer but rarely have time.

David Ashbourne

David AshbourneDavid is a coach, official and sometimes an athlete at Leamington C&AC and has been involved in the sport for over 10 years.  He came from the typical route of being a parent to children who took part, to being a helper and then later a full coach. David is an active member on the Club committee and represent the junior section as well as being the coaching co-ordinator.  Having successfully implemented a proper coaching pathway for young athletes at Leamington and been influential in creating a throws and jumps group, the structure is much stronger to enable the club to forward into the future.

His decision to join the regional council was to try to be a voice between the West Midlands clubs and England Athletics.  At the same time, he can gain a greater understanding of what the clubs would like to see England Athletics do for them.

Martin Flowers

Martin FlowersMartin has been running for over 40 years. Having secured a place in the second London Marathon, which he couldn’t run due to injury, he completed his first marathon the year after. He went on to complete 14 more, including 4 Londons, as well as numerous road, cross-country and track races for a number of clubs around the Midlands. Martin had a brief successful period as part of the Midland Masters, winning a few area titles and one national medal at 10 miles. In recent years, his ability to compete has reduced and he mainly runs for fun now. Having retired a few years ago, after over 30 years in NHS finance, he took on the role of Chair of his local running club Wye Valley Runners.

As a competitor, Martin was never particularly interested in the workings of England Athletics or its predecessors. He says, “I wanted to join the Regional Council, partly out of curiosity, but mainly to try to promote running within the sport. The growth of parkrun has been fantastic, but our new breed of occasional runner does not necessarily see the need to join an affiliated club. Unless we tackle this and help to address the many pressures that clubs find themselves facing, I fear for their future. I wanted to try to represent those running clubs in more rural areas, like my own and who compete mainly on the roads and cross country.”

Margaret Afford

Margaret AffordMargaret Afford is a member of Telford Athletics Club, L4 Timekeeper, L4 Photo-finish Official, operating at National and International level and L3 Endurance Official.  However, you will still find her at local cross-country Races, road races, track & field and Sportshall events, which she believes are equally important, as without grass roots athletics there are no elite athletes.

Margaret has been Shropshire COfSec for more than 25 years and previously the Sportshall League Organiser and Team Manager, so has experienced a wide range of roles. Margaret has been a MAFEO Committee member for 30 years and a past Chairperson.

Kevin Oakes

Kevin OakesKevin is from Birmingham Running Athletics & Triathlon Club (Brat). He has been involved in athletics since 2009 after participating in hs first 10k. Since then he has competed in Cross Country, Road and Track in the UK and abroad. He has also gained my endurance coaching qualification, degree in coaching and now taking a masters in sports management and coaching.

He says, “In my life I have struggled with Asperger’s and diabetes, however I have not let these barriers stop or slow me down. Instead I use them to learn and help others who struggle with difficulties, helping them to overcome them and achieve what they thought would never be possible. When I’m not running or coaching I enjoy studying and kickboxing.”

Paul Gair

Paul GairPaul Gair is a level 3 throws coach based at Mansfield Harriers. He has been coaching for over 20 years and has performed many roles over the years including team manager, sports hall organiser, and committee member.

He has recently retired after completing 30 years in the Nottinghamshire Fire Service. He is currently a Coach Developer, delivering both the Coaching Assistant and the Athletics Coach courses. He also assesses and provides feedback on both courses, is and Internal Verifier for coaching courses and is the Regional Club Coaching Lead for the East Midlands.