Queen's Honours for English coach

The recent Queen’s Birthday Honours saw Gateshead Harriers coach John Stephenson recognised with a Medal of the Order of the British Empire for his services to athletics.

John Stephenson BEM

John started training with Gateshead Harriers as a young teenager, transitioning to coaching in his 20’s under the mentorship of the great Stan Long. In 2021 John celebrated his 75th birthday and over 60 years as a Gateshead Harrier. John was a celebrated coach to generations of athletes and made a huge impact within the running community, receiving a lifetime achievement award from Gateshead Council in 2019 which demonstrated the positive impact he had on so many lives.

It was with immense pride that John’s widow, Pam, was able to announce at his funeral service that John had been posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours List; John passed away last month.

Team GB Junior David Race (pictured top with John at the Manchester International) said,

I can’t thank this guy enough for the amount of time and effort that he dedicated to mine and so many other young athletes’ lives. John was so much more than a coach; he was a friend, a role model, a true inspiration to everyone that knew him…

Calum Johnson is the North Eastern Counties and the CAU Inter counties Cross Country Champion, and is part foTeam GB Triathlon. He told us,

The world can be cruel and John was taken way too early. John brought me into the world of running and taught me many lessons in life. He believed in me from day one.

And Olympian Ross Murray added,

To me, John was so much more than just a coach, he was a friend, a mentor, a role model and a father figure. I could never thank John enough for what he did for me over the years. Not only did he help me become a better athlete, he made me a better person…

As were his wishes, John’s ashes were scattered at Gateshead Stadium on what would have been his birthday, 4th June. Read John’s own words, which were published on his 75th Birthday.