Farewell Vernon ‘Vic’ Blowfield 1919-2017

Club distance warrior who so nearly felled Sydney Wooderson

 

We are very sad to announce the passing of Vernon Blowfield – Vic to his mates – at the fine age of 97, who was a crucial mainstay of our Championship cross-country teams between 1947-1952, one of the richest periods in our history.

In this image, which hangs at Belgrave Hall, Vic Blowfield may be seen on the right with four other luminaries, at our 100th Centenary celebrations in 1987

 

Vic led home the winning National team of 1948, plus the winning Southern team of 1952, the last time we’ve managed to land that trophy.  He was also in the winning Southern teams of 1948 and 1949, the former placing an individual bronze.

The going looks ominously firm at the memorable National at Sheffield in ’48. Bad news when you’re trying to burn off one of the greatest track stars of all time. From left to right, Vic Blowfield (Belgrave H), Sydney Wooderson (Blackheath), and Albert Horrocks (Halesowen)

But Vic is best remembered for a mesmerising battle at the National at Sheffield in 1948, when he and Halesowen’s Albert Horrocks did all they could to deal with Sydney Wooderson, in his last great race.  Blowfield and Horrocks knew that they’d have to somehow burn off the Mighty Atom before the last half-mile was entered, but it was to no avail.  The tigerish Wooderson clung on, all the while right at the edge of exhaustion.  He noted:  “It was really an effort and the mental strain of cross-country running was bad, as one was wondering all the time whether one was able to last out.”

The final result was that Vic had to settle for 2nd, by a mere 4 seconds.  His grandson Andrew Simpson writes of Vic’s effort that day:  “I think he was carried out on his shield.”

Belgrave sends our warmest wishes to Vic’s wife Elsie who survives him, and all his family.

For an in depth review of Vernon Blowfield’s time with Belgrave, please see the research carried out by Alan Mead which is on the Belgrave Statistics website here:

https://www.belgraveharriers.info/blowfield-vernon-s