Veteran athlete Ken loses battle for life

Ken Williams
Ken Williams

TRIBUTES have been paid to a veteran St Helens athlete who has died.

St Helens Sutton Athletics Club stalwart Ken Williams, 65, had been sedated for more than three weeks after suffering a heart attack at an athletics meeting.

But, after suffering two more heart attacks while fighting for his life at Walton Neurological Centre, the decision was made to remove the life-support system that was keeping him alive.

Mr Williams, of Clock Face, had collapsed at a throws meeting in Wrexham on Sunday, September 25, after winning his age group’s discus competition.

Paying tribute, his coach, Phil Thomas, told the Reporter how the veteran had been an example to others both through his enthusiasm for athletics and his “superb” discus technique.

He said: “Ken’s footwork, as a discus thrower, was immaculate and his delivery of the discus was perfect too. I always got other athletes to watch how Ken threw the discus. He was a great technician.

“There were times when I had to remind him the importance of discipline though, because he was so enthusiastic that he would sometimes want to throw the discus twice before anyone else had had a go! And he was always the first to put his hand up for any event if somebody got injured.

“There was a lot more to Ken than athletics too. He had been a bandsman while serving in Northern Ireland in his younger days - a passion he retained for as long as he lived.”

Following his collapse on September 25, Mr Williams, whose brother had died of a heart attack aged 48, was treated at the scene by St John’s Ambulance personnel before being rushed to Wrexham’s Maelor Hospital.

He was subsequently transferred to Walton Neurological Centre - where his mother and father, aged 89 and 91, kept a bedside vigil.

Among the other tributes from local athletes was one on Facebook from club-mate Joe Ford, which simply read: “RIP Ken - You were a top bloke.”

Ken Williams’ funeral is set to be held at St Nicholas’s Church on New Street, Sutton, at 11.30am this Friday (November 4).