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Tributes paid to to star athlete

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Tributes have been paid to a Chesterfield-born athlete who has died.

Peter Wilkinson – hailed as one of the finest runners Derbyshire has ever produced – passed away aged 80 at the end of February.

He opened the Queen’s Park running track in Chesterfield in 1962.

Principally a marathon and cross-country runner, Peter won a bronze medal for England in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.

He represented England in two Commonwealth Games’ marathons and Britain in five marathons.

Peter took part in 21 marathons in total, winning four, and only once finished outside the top eight.

He ran twice for England in the International Cross Country Championships as part of a winning team in 1959 and as runners-up to Belgium in 1961.

The athlete – who continued to run 10k races and marathons into his 50s – was a hugely-respected coach at Derby Athletic Club.

Peter moved to Toton in Nottinghamshire in the late 1960s.

David Ashton, his friend and neighbour of more than 40 years, this week paid tribute to Peter.

He said: “You never heard anyone say a bad word about him.

“The world of athletics has lost an inspirational figure.

“It was a pleasure knowing Peter.

“He’ll be sadly missed by many.”

His son, Steve, also paid tribute.

He said: “He was a very unassuming and humble person.

“He was still playing football in the garden with his grandchildren at the age of 79.”

Steeplechase champion Luke Gunn, who was coached by Peter for four years, described him as “one of the kindest and humble people” he knew.

You can watch Pathe footage of Peter winning the Duth marathon in Holland in 1961 by logging on to www.britishpathe.com/video/holland-aka-wilkinson-wins-dutch-marathon

• Did you know Peter Wilkinson? What are your memories of him? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk, have your say on Facebook and Twitter or write to Derbyshire Times, Spire Walk, Chesterfield, S40 2WG.

 

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