Arbroath Athletics Club founder and Hawkhill Harriers stalwart John Oulton, whose talent saw him awarded an MBE for services to the sport in which he coached athletes to Commonwealth gold medals, has died at the age of 88.
Born in Warrington, Cheshire, Mr Oulton joined the Fleet Air Arm after leaving school in 1947 and served at various stations across the country as well as spending time on board vessels including HMS Eagle, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Hermes.
He met his wife, Margaret while they were at Lymm Grammar School and the inseparable couple were married in 1954 when John was stationed at Stretton Air Station in Cheshire. They went on to have two sons, Stuart and Gary.
During his time in the military, John represented the Navy in inter-service competition and was selected for the International British junior team and later short-listed for the British Empire Games in Vancouver in 1954.
He had been stationed at Condor, on the outskirts of Arbroath and following his retirement from the Navy after 25 years, the family returned to the Angus town where John took up a specialised post in the repair shop of the then new Michelin factory in Dundee.
In 1978, he led the formation of Arbroath and District Little Athletics Club (ADLAC), involving his family and fellow enthusiasts Roly Hill and Des Mardle.
The club went from strength to strength and continues under the name of Arbroath and District Athletics Club
John’s love of athletics saw him compete throughout his life, including long jump and high jump as a veteran and he remains the holder of six Hawkhill Harriers records.
A move to Monifieth in 1986 led John to move to Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, developing his own coaching methods which included the pioneering practice of using polytunnels to prepare athletes for hot weather conditions.
The highlight of John’s coaching career came at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when physically-challenged athletes Pauline Latto and Caroline Innes took gold medals in the javelin and 400 metres respectively.
He remained a regular at the Caird Park track into the 1990s and was honoured with lifetime membership by Hawkhill Harriers.
In 2003, John received the MBE for services to sport and coaching in Scotland and he enjoyed the honour of carrying the Olympic torch through the streets of Monifieth in preparation for the 2012 London Games.
A keen golfer and cyclist, John also helped at badminton clubs in Arbroath and Monifieth.
He was diagnosed with dementia five years ago and died in the Prosen Unit at Whitehills, Forfar.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret and sons Stuart and Gary.