Team Bath’s own Di Viles has been short listed for an award for the Wiltshire Times & Herald Sports awards in the category of Unsung Hero.
Many of you will know Di as an experienced jumps coach and field official in the club for many years, but will not be aware of the additional services she has provided to the club since the early 1970’s. Di joined the club back in 1973 having supported her two daughters from the side-lines for a short period. It was not long however before she was persuaded to help in the sessions.
She is now the longest serving active member of the club having been very active in numerous changes. Initially Bath and Percy AC based in Percy Boys Club in the centre of Bath; then City of Bath AC and a move to Beechen Cliff School and finally to the University and a change to Team Bath AC.
An example of her dedication is her organisation of the hugely successful Field Fest every year. This includes the promotion of the event, applying for the event license from UKA, organising the officials and entries, and even setting up the PA on the morning of the event, and making the officials lunches. Di has carried many roles in the club including team manager, committee member, and official and often this has taken her away from seeing her own athletes perform.
Despite all the additional responsibilities that she has taken on over the years she has still managed to unearth some raw talent and coach them to success. The most recent being Tom Gale who was coached by Di, prior to being introduced to Denis Doyle. Tom has now gone on to be selected for the Commonwealth Games 2018 and performed in the Diamond League during 2017.
One of the highlights of her career so far was witnessing Jason Gardner win an Olympic gold but he was only one alongside many others (Ben Newson and Kelvin Stewart spring to mind). Along with Tony Blanchard, Di had supported Jason in his early days in athletics.
Di’s work in athletics was finally recognised when she was awarded Life Time membership of Avon Athletics and Life Time membership of Team Bath AC, but as a club felt this award was fitting and now that she is in the shortlist for these awards her achievements will hopefully also be acknowledge with this local award.