Rest In Peace, George Page
It is with great sadness that we heard over the weekend of the passing of George Page.
Our recent club members may not know much about this great stalwart of the club, he was one of our (re)founding fathers and without him our great club would not even exist, let alone embody the spirit it currently has.
He was our club treasurer for over 17 years, spanning 3 different decades, after taking up the role back in 1976.
We would like to pass on our heart felt condolences and thoughts to his family.
Below are some tributes and memories of George from some of his former clubmates.
“Such sad news to hear of the passing of another green and Gold legend.
George was one third of the great founding fathers of Wallsend Harriers along with Bill McGuirk and the late Doug Bramley.
I recall George was virtually an ever present on club nights and though I didn’t appreciate it at the time as a young kid, he was a hard-working and dedicated member of the newly formed club handling the subs etc.
Back in the day, when getting to race meetings was an adventure in itself, I well remember the walk up to the Sports Centre on a Saturday where George, with his orange car, and others, were ready to take us off to exotic places like Crook and Houghton le Spring!
As I grew older I got to realise and appreciate his dedication to the club and having joined the committee I got to see his passion for the club at first hand. Many is the time he would give me a lift home in his car following a committee meeting for a journey taking 5 minutes and then spend another 30 minutes complaining about how the committee meeting had gone and how he was going to resign – of course his longevity in the role as Treasurer shows that he never did as his love for the club always won through.
George was also a pretty decent runner in his day and he dealt with the transition between being a competitive runner to having to “slow down” very well – it is to his credit that having stopped actually running he still continued with such sterling work for the Green and Gold.
George will always have my thanks as I consider him a true legend of this great club – passionate and committed, dedicated and thorough and always with the club’s best interest at heart.
Time waits for no one and he had a good innings, (his legacy is still visible when I see the Green and Gold out on the streets), and I smile at the thought of George joining together with Gordon Smith, Doug Bramley, Margaret Watson and of course Terry – believe me that would be a lively committee meeting!!!”
“George was a very hard working treasurer. Having the club at heart George was a sincere and genuine good man. He will be sorely missed a true gent and one of the 3 amigos, the stalwarts of Wallsend Harriers at my time of joining the club in 86.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of “one of our own”………..former Club Treasurer, the legendary George Page.
George was a man of: integrity, loyalty and passion. He was one of the Founding Fathers of this great club.
In the mid- seventies, long before London 2012, Bill McGuirk set about inspiring a generation. With a vision to create a unique, running club, the former north-east half-mile champion needed reliable, intelligent, resourceful people. George Page embodied all of these virtues…….and many, many more.
George quickly took up the post of Club Treasurer; a position he would hold for over 17 years. With his infectious personality and natural flair for fundraising, George was able to cut his cloth (again and again) as McGuirk’s golden generation began their unremitting assault upon the north-east athletics scene.
In the days before post-workout sports hydration became de rigeur, George realised that, by undercutting Bolam’s (at the bottom of St Peter’s Road) he could swell the club’s coffers with the profits made from dubious Mars bars and rejuvenating cans of orangeade. Hungry young men drawn from all across the boundaries of Segedunum would collapse, together, on the Burnside field. They drank pop; wolfed confectionery; listened to the stories of Big Bren, the Elswick Express and Geronimo Jim; and learned a lot about life along the way.
As our athletes continued to raise the bar, we incurred ever-increasing transport bills. Regular club raffles; “encouraging” punters to cough up for over-priced refreshments at the prestigious Wallsend Road Races and the alpine Wallsend Harrier League; and a bourgeoning social scene: were all carefully engineered to bring home the (green and gold wrapped) bacon. George’s wife, Margaret (the First Lady of Wallsend Harriers) was an ever-present; a willing volunteer and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at the Harriers’ ever-growing competitive and social fixtures.
And George loved his running: on the fells; over the country; and on the roads. There was often a story or two. I recall learning of George (in the late seventies) being involved in a serious road traffic accident. George and the classy George Atkinson were almost impaled upon a menacing tree, in an overturned car, prior to a big fell race. They managed to extricate themselves, made it to the start line and both ran blinders!!!
The Walkerville-based George can also lay claim to a pivotal role in the recruitment (or more correctly, conscription) of Terry O’Gara in signing for the Segedunum Striders. As TOG sauntered up the John Reid Road and overtook George (in the 1982 Great North Run) the wily Club Treasurer agreed a pact. If the scenario was to be repeated the following year, Terry would become a bona fide member of the Green and Golds. The scenario was repeated in 1983; and we are all the better for George’s quick-wittedness and proclivity towards benevolent blackmail.
When injuries eventually ravaged his body, George handed the keys of the Treasury over to the equally inspirational Alex Richardson. George continued to remain a huge supporter however: well- informed by his great friends, George Atkinson and Wor Terry. George also became well-versed with the fortunes of newer Harrier performances, via a long-standing friendship with none other than… Sam Charlton’s Grandfather. In later years, we would still see George; he was always happy; always funny; always interested.
George… in this great club, you will always be remembered: as a friend, a runner and a hero. I still see you in my mind’s eye: your strong shoulders hunched; sweat cascading down your back; and you, floating like a God, along the John Reid Road.
On behalf of Wallsend Harriers, we extend our sincere condolences to all of your family and friends. In our running community: we celebrate your life… we give thanks for what you did… and we remain eternally grateful for the legacy which you have left… we love you George”.
Steve “SOG” O’Gara
George Page RIP