Tommy Coyle

Tom Coyle

Sadly we have to report the death of a past member of Sale Harriers, Tom Coyle on Friday 17th April while out on a cycle ride in N.S.W. Australia. He moved there in the mid 1980's.

Some of you may have memories of Tom. His clubs include Edinburgh S.H. and in later years Sale Harriers.

Our thoughts go out to his wife, Carol and sons Alex and Josh and his friends and other family.

Bruce Green says;

I first knew Tom when I came to Manchester University in 1972. Although he was at Didsbury College he often came to races with the university team. After he left college he remained in touch with MUCCC (Manchester University Cross Country Club) and was elected as an Honorary Vice President in the late 1970s. I joined the same club as him, Sale Harriers, and often visited his Claremont Grove rented house: this was a series of flats, almost all of which contained runners, including Mike Dunne.

In around 1980 Tom was living in Stockport next to Vernon Park, and I moved in with him until Christmas 1982. There were many runs, and often a drink in the Midway pub which was literally a stone’s throw away.

We remained in contact and I have enjoyed receiving various items of clothing from him: every time I wear my South Sydney Robbitoh’s gear I will think of Tom!

My daughter Rachel was also upset to hear about Tom; if you remember Rachel and her partner Mark stayed with you in 2009, and she says Tom was a perfect and enthusiastic host. Inevitably Tom made her want to get a road bike…which she did!

The university cross country club have a strong tradition of keeping in contact post–university, even though for some that was 50 years ago: I emailed the following to some of the older past members yesterday:

I was shocked to hear last night of the passing of Tommy Coyle, Honorary VP, whilst out for his daily bike ride near his home in Sydney on Friday 17th April. I don’t know precisely the cause of death but he emailed last week to say he was pretty fit with five longish rides a week.

 I know several will remember him and I know a couple of you have met up with him in Sydney where he moved to in the mid-eighties as a PE teacher. He took a particular interest in rugby and was until recently a rugby fitness coach.

Tom was at Didsbury College in the early 70s but often came to races with MUCCC and joined in our activities, for which he was elected an Honorary VP in the late 1970s. He was a decent runner: 14:36 5000, 9:28.6 steeplechase, and I know he ran the Maxol marathon in 2:26.39 in 1972. He may have run faster elsewhere. A proud Scot who ran for Edinburgh Southern, he joined Sale Harriers when he moved to Manchester, and only last week was asking me about both MUCCC and Sale. Aged 71 he was still working in education and was looking forward to schools and colleges re-opening.

Tom was only 5 foot 4:  I no longer have someone to look down to…although in many respects I did of course have to look up.”


I have received a number of replies which I copy below:

Dr Patrick Milroy wrote:
That is desperately sad Bruce.

 I met him again when I was in Sydney for the World Junior Athletics Champs in 1996 and he was very good to me, showing me many of the sights and being an excellent host. They say the good die young. He was good.


Will James:

That's sad news indeed. I remember Tommy teaching us a couple of songs in days gone by. It's particularly difficult to see that he's passed away when he seemed to be so fit.

Chris Paul:

Sad news indeed

I remember runs back and forth to Stockport on the river and around Vernon Park and Woodbank Park, often popping in to Tommy's for a cuppa and a chat.


Doug Cockburn:

That is such sad news.

In the early 1970s Tommy and I were good friends. After University I lived in Heaton Mersey and worked in the City Centre and ran to work and back 5 days a week for a number of years. A training group soon formed for the morning run and sometimes for the evening return. This comprised of Tommy, Arthur Walsham (Salford H and World Vet Marathon champion) and Mike Delaney and myself (both Sale H). The morning run was always easy paced and there was plenty of chat - putting the world to rights and having a good laugh. Invariably it was Tommy who always had some story (usually very tall stories) or a joke. The very deadpan Arthur and the irrepressible Tommy were a good double act. Even on the evening run when we were doing efforts and the rest of us were gasping Tommy would still be jabbering away! The many 1000s of miles we ran together were certainly made much easier and enjoyable by Tommy's company.

After I moved back to Morpeth in 1974 we kept in touch, but after that we lost touch with each other, so it was a very pleasant surprise when about 10(?) years ago when he was visiting the UK from Australia he came up to Morpeth to visit. Like me he had been forced to give up running, and also like me was very keen cyclist, so we had plenty to talk about.

Tommy Coyle, small in stature but larger than life!

Regards ---- Doug