The recent Blackheath & Bromley Club Annual General Meeting saw outgoing president Bob Cliff announce his successor. “I won’t let you down” said Dick Griffin when he was introduced to the Past Presidents the previous week and Club members know he won’t.

A veteran of over 230 (Two Hundred and Thirty) marathons around the World; the Comrades Marathon over 53 miles in South Africa; the London to Brighton race; and two 24 hour races; he also recently won the gold medal in the Southern Counties Veterans Marathon Championships in the over 60s age group.

Supporter of Mob matches and social functions at the Club, he has organised the Wednesday Nighters Christmas Supper for many years; and has recently, with his wife Sheila, taken over the job of distributing the Club kit and the organisation of the Parris Handicap races over the Summer months.

That he has achieved all this is remarkable in itself but is even more impressive when one considers over this period he was looking after the most important person in the country. In 1999 he was appointed Personal Protection officer to Her Majesty the Queen a role he held for 14 years. Prior to this he worked for 13 years with the Duke Of Edinburgh and prior to this he was Protection Officer to Prince Edward while he attended Cambridge University.

He visited over 150 countries as a Protection Officer and in 2010 was promoted to Superintendent and held the position known as “The Queen’s Police Officer” until he retired in 2013, a year later than intended as he was invited to stay on an extra year to cover the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed that as Her Majesty and Prince Philip travelled from Buckingham Palace to attend the wedding of Prince William the man at their side was wearing a Blackheath & Bromley Club tie.

Having protected the Monarchy, the Club Presidency is in a safe pair of hands and he is looking forward to supporting the membership in their myriad of activities over the next 12 months.

Following the announcement of his successor, Bob Cliff introduced five new Club Vice Presidents. Julie Asher Smith has become increasingly involved in the Club after her daughter Dina began competing. She is one of the Kent County’s top track officials; has helped raise thousands of pounds for the Club through fund raising activities; and organised Awards ceremonies for the Clubs’ Young athletes.

Jane Bradshaw has been a prolific racer for the Club on the track, road and cross country both as a Senior and veteran. In addition she has been team manager of the Senior womens cross country team and this Summer will be the womens manager of the Clubs’ Southern Athletics League team.

It has often been commented that there are a disproportionate number of steeplechasers who have become President of the Club, Bob being the latest. This looks set to continue as all three new male Vice Presidents have competed in the chase in the British Athletics League.

The trio are the three retiring Senior mens cross country team managers Alex Gibbins, David McKinlay and Richard Hall. Alex has competed for the Club on track, road and cross country for over 20 years as Young Athlete, Senior and Master. David also has competed as a youngster and Senior and has also acted as a point of contact for athletes who are at university and has been Southern League team manager. Richard joined too late to compete as a young athlete but has more than made up for it since. Like David he has also been a Southern League team manager.

Another former steeplechaser and President Tim Soutar has been elected to the Board of Directors of England Athletics. This is the first time there have been elections to the Board and Tim and Neil Costello of Cambridge & Coleridge were the two successful candidates from the seven nominations.

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