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Borough says farewell to founding father of local athletics
2:00am Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Sport
ATHLETICS: ONE of the founder members of Thurrock Harriers, Ken Batty, died last week aged 84.
Ken was the elder brother of Harriers legend and former world 10 mile record holder Mel Batty.
Like many of his generation, Ken Batty’s National Service sparked his interest in sport. In one race during his National Service he came against the great Czech triple Olympic gold medal winner Emil Zatopek.
When Batty returned to Grays he was invited to join Grays Athletic and Social Club who trained on a track at the town Rec. But he and other runners were looking for better facilities. And in a meeting held above Baird’s restaurant in the High Street this group decided to set up the Thurrock Harriers.
Their first headquarters was at Palmers Girls’ School. Competition came in the form of inter-club cross country races and the in the summer local factories such as Batas and Thames Board Mills.
Batty remained as secretary of the club until the late 1960s. And he and his fellow committee members worked hard to build up the Harriers and build a new track at Blackshots. This was a major moment in the Club’s history. In the late 1960s Ken resigned from his job at Thames Board Mills and moved to Trowbridge where he ran a Post Office and village store.
Ken Batty is survived by his wife Jean and two children, David and Sarah.