Paul Blissett

Posted by Administrator on Wed 30 January 2013

Sad News for Middle Distance Running in the County

The County Association reports with great sadness that Paul Blissett lost his long and hard battle against cancer and passed away peacefully with his family on Sunday 29th January 2012. Our thoughts are with his wife and three children at this time and we are grateful for the fact they shared Paul with us over so many years.

Paul was well known locally, regionally and nationally as a coach of exceptional ability. He had coached many hundreds of youngsters in schools, as well as with his club, Leicester Coritanian AC, over the past 40 years, some to national and international standard. His dedication to coaching was unquestionable and he had spent the last few years ensuring that he left behind a legacy of good coaches within the club to ensure the continued progression of the club in middle distance running locally, regionally and nationally both on the track and in cross-country running. He will be missed by so many athletes, but also by fellow coaches and club committee members who held him in such high esteem.

Paul had also been an England Athletics Coach mentor for several years. He has ensured good practice and introduced new methods while supporting new and experienced coaches across the County and the Midlands.

The Leicestershire & Rutland County Association benefitted for many years from Paul's role as Team Manager for the U13, U15 and U17 Girls Cross-Country Team. He always undertook his role with dedication, integrity and fairness - characteristics of Paul which will be well-known to those of us who have been privileged to be his colleague and have found inspiration in his continued work for athletics despite his very lengthy and debilitating illness over the past 5 or 6 years. He will be missed by so many - it will be hard to fill the gap - but it will be a testament to his legacy for those left behind in his club and County Association to continue his high standards.

Paul's funeral will take place in Loughborugh on Friday 10th February in Loughborough. Further details will be published on the site when the wishes of the family are known.

Tributes to Paul can be sent to this website by email (contact@lraa.org.uk) where they will be published on a special News Tribute page. Paul was also the person who maintained the Leicester Coritanian website and so club tributes can be sent to the County until someone else is found to update their site. This is yet another example of Paul's commitment to his club by finding the time to set up, maintain and update the club website (See www.leicestercoritanian.org.uk)

Update: Paul's funeral was a very sad and, at the same time, inspiring testimony to Paul's legacy in Leicestershire. The service was attended by over 100 people who poured into the Funeral service to pay their respects. The wall of Coritanian blue tops was especially touching in seeing the impact of Paul who had become almost a family member to some of the youngsters who had seen him 2-3 times a week for several years. Additionally there was the "running crowd" from the 70s who came to honour Paul - Wayne, Gary, Roger, Nigel and Dick (who delivered a memorial dedication) were among the many from the old days. George Gandy, UKA National middle-distance coach also came to pay his respects. There were others who sent messages (Ian, Martin) that they were unable to attend.

We would all like to thank Paul's wife and family for their hospitality and for 'sharing him with us. His inspirational messages, his integrity and dedication will always be remembered.

Please also read the following longer tribute to Paul.