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UK Athletics

Sad passing of Arthur J Collyer

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The following was received from Malcolm Wallace at Watford Harriers:

It is with much sadness that the club have to announce the passing of Arthur J Collyer Watford Harriers and Great Britain 1909 -2006.  18th November 2006

Arthur J Collyer was a founder and life member of Watford Harriers and had an illustrious career as an outstanding athlete and held the 880yd English and Scottish all-comers record, winner of a number of AAA titles and represented Great Britain on numerous occasions. Arthur was an athlete during a golden age of athletic in the UK with contemporaries such as Sydney Wooderson, Godfrey Brown and Ernie Harper. Arthur missed out selection to the 1936 Olympics due to an injury, further disappointment was encountered when after being selected for the Great Britain, Empire Games team, due to take place in Australia, he had to decline the honour due to his employers, a government organisation, felt they could not keep his job open for him as the trip would take 2-3 months.


In 1939 Arthur Collyer finished third to Sydney Wooderson in AAA mile Championship, and also assisted Wooderson in his successful attempt at the world’s record for 3/4 mile, the race, which was held in Manchester, saw Arthur finished second. As a life long club member Arthur, although not able to visit the club for a number of years due to illness, still kept in touch with the club and the world of athletics via regular visits from club members. Club Chairman, Dr Vaughan Tayler on hearing of his passing said “Arthur, although unable to visit us, remained a staunch supporter of the club, he is an important part of the clubs history and epitomises everything that is good about athletics. He will be remembered not only as a first class athlete and club member but also an important figure in the history of sport in Watford”.