England Athletics and the worldwide athletics community are shocked and saddened to report the untimely death of Jon Mason - one of Britain’s top technical officials - at the age of 48.
Jon was a member of Sale Harriers Athletics Club and had been the Club Chairman for the last eighteen months, bringing the same enthusiasm to that role as he did to everything he was involved with.
Frank Cordingley from Sale Harriers said: "Jon was our Chairman and had some big and exciting plans for our club in the future. He will be sadly missed."
He was a member of the British Athletics Supporters' Club, displaying a passion for spectating whenever he wasn’t involved as an official.
Sarah Nancollas noted: "I remember Jon’s excitement officiating at his first major event, shared travels with British Athletics Supporters' Club, and his help and support on my officiating journey."
Jon was also an officiating Tutor for England Athletics, and a member of the UKA Recruitment and Retention Working Group - helping to develop and inspire the new generation of officials. Outside athletics he also held a number of volunteer roles including as a School Governor at Stockport Grammar School where his son has just completed his A Levels.
Jon was a popular official amongst his colleagues across the country and had progressed to the very top of the sport, having officiated at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, an experience that made him want to be more involved in Para sport.
Fellow official Alan Morris said: "Jon was a lovely man and a great official and will be missed. A big loss to athletics and to the pole vault and para athletics in particular."
Level 4 Field Judge Craig Birch started his journey at London 2012; he wrote on social media:
"I am truly heartbroken to read this. Jon has been an excellent mentor to me and I owe all of my fantastic experiences in athletics to him."
Kamil Winogrodzki added: "Words escape me, it doesn't feel real. Jon was so passionate about athletics and helped me and others so much with progressing through the officiating pathway. Such a lovely and approachable person."
Joy Alexander had known Jon for many years.
"He was always such a gentleman, great sense of humour and most importantly always having time for everyone - he will be so sorely missed in the sport."
He went on to be a National Technical Official at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and a Chief Official at the 2017 World Championships in London as well as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games just a few months ago.
Marc Ritchie first met Jon as his Team Leader at Glasgow.
"Jon was a fantastic official at all levels of the sport. He was a great person to ask advice for about any rules procedures etc. Jon had a heart of gold, very supportive, kind, so proud of his family, had a great sense of humour and made everyone feel valued."
He did, however, always support his club and regional events whenever he was available. He acted as a mentor and support to many fellow officials and was always available to answer questions or discuss rules or interpretations with colleagues.
Ken Burkett illustrated this fact well: "His kindness and approachable nature was so much a part of who Jon was, and his skill and knowledge made him a real master of his craft."
Elaine Williams commented: "Jon was an absolute diamond, his knowledge and his understated way of imparting that knowledge, with humour and care combined set him apart. He will be sorely missed." And Nicola Evans - who was in his Discus Team at Glasgow 2014 - added: "Jon was the loveliest man you could ever know. Had a way of passing on knowledge that didn't make you feel like an idiot."
Lis Henderson worked closely with Jon at many events.
"Jon was a fantastic official locally and internationally. He always had time for people. He was a good laugh and a good ear, and someone great to pick over the finer details of a rule with. But most of all he was a fantastic friend who will be missed."
He had only recently passed the assessment to become a World Athletics Silver Level Referee, one of only four in the UK. He looked to have a long and successful career ahead of him at future European events.
Following his introduction to Para sport at the Games in 2012 he became more involved and had reached the highest level of officiating, having been the Technical Delegate at several events. He was actually in Santiago, Chile, on a site visit for the upcoming Para Pan American Games at the time of his premature death. Pictured below was a visit he made in to train up the local Technical Officials there last December.
Tributes have flowed in from all over the world in the days since his death, showing the great respect and admiration in which he was held.
Kate Nash and Joyce Rammell echoed the thoughts of many:
"Jon was a true gentleman who listened to people; it was a pleasure to have known and worked in athletics with Jon."
Fellow top level official Chris Haxell summarised what many of the sentiments were of his officiating colleagues:
"Jon will be massively missed by all - such a brilliant man and an inspiration to us all."
There is absolutely no doubt he’s inspired both current and the next legacy of officials locally, nationally and internationally for the UK and for the world.
He will be greatly missed at local, national and international levels, but our thoughts are mainly with wife Sam and son Kristian.