Diedre Clayton: 1946-2022

England Athletics are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of top level field official Diedre Clayton.

After a long battle with illness which physicians were unable to fully diagnose, Diedre passed away last Saturday.

Diedre joined Barton & District A.C. as a schoolgirl and continued her involvement with the club through her children and grand children. Seeing her children compete Diedre took to distance running and took part in a number of marathon and half marathons including the London Marathon and the Great North Run. She trained as a field judge in preparation for the last time the English Schools’ Championships were held in Hull. Alongside her the club also trained Jeanette Murray, Julia Stephens and the late Dave Harris; all four reached the highest levels of officiating as field judges.

Her colleagues volunteering at the COmmonwelath Games were told the news yesterday and held a minute’s silence prior to their daily briefing.

Officiating collegue Edwin Bellamy said:

Diedre was someone who could always be relied upon being a thoroughly competent official who was invariably the field referee. She enjoyed officiating and meeting people whether they be officials or athletes – she was always pleasant, fair and encouraging. At one major meeting where she was officiating, an athlete – just embarking on his international career – came up to her to say that seeing that she was officiating in his event gave him confidence and had a calming effect to his nerves.

Diedre’s officiating knew no bounds – she was a people person and officiated at all levels – domestic, county, international, schools and disability. Though she had said that this would be her last season, and only a matter of weeks ago said that she had finished officiating altogether, she went to Cleckheaton and officiated for her club only a fortnight ago.

We have lost not just a colleague, a mentor, and enthusiast but a true friend.

Dave Roberts from Humber Athletics said:

Diedre was totally committed to the sport. She mentored, trained and encouraged many young officials, starting out on their journey. Diedre would be the first to say however that one of her great loves was working at grassroots level where she found so much pleasure watching and helping young people enjoying themselves in our Sport.  She was devoted to her club, Barton upon Humber AC. and so happy to be with them in all their events from local SportsHall to League and County Matches and to their well-known Cross-Country.