Sussex and athletics in general have lost a loyal and dedicated servant in the death of Mike Carrington. Carrington, who it is believed had a heart attack while playing golf on Friday 23rd March, was 77 years old, writes Reg Hook (President of Sussex Schools and Life Member Sussex County A.A.) He grew up in Settle, West Yorkshire, the son of a headmaster, and attended Skipton Grammar School before going to Christ Church College, Oxford where he studied English and was joined by his younger brother C.D. (David) Carrington, who was an international high hurdler clocking 14.4sec for the 120 hurdles in 1957.

While playing cricket in 1954, he was also deeply involved in rugby he gave away his wicket so that he could make the short dash to Iffley Road to watch Roger Bannister become the first ‘Four minute Miler. He maintained his connection with Oxford University through the Achilles Club; regularly officiating at the Varsity match and other University meetings over the past 10 years. 

After teaching at Leeds Grammar School for a short while, he obtained a post at Christ Hospital near Horsham, where he taught for more than thirty years and, after retiring from teaching, continued to be involved with the school for many years. While at Christ Hospital, Mike coached rugby and cricket as well as athletics and as a team manager he took teams around the world. He was soon involved with Sussex Schools’ athletics serving as Sussex Schools’ Secretary, Championship Secretary and Team Manager for more than a quarter of a century. He was a ‘Life Vice President’ of the Sussex Schools Athletic Association. Mike, when most people would think of sitting back and taking life easy was for many years as the Officials’ Secretary for Sussex County Association for which he was currently President and was also the Hon Secretary and President of the Horsham Blue Star Harriers. Mike was also President of the Sussex Schools’ Rugby Association.

These however were not badges of honor for whatever he did, he was always hands-on. Ever willing to keep up to date and eager to help, Mike was also a founder member of the Sussex Athletics Network and very supportive of the first England Athletics Hall of Fame and Volunteer Awards. Thousands of athletes throughout the South would also know ‘The Big Man’ as a thoughtful, competent and fair field judge at many of the top athletics events in the South of England. He was however a twelve month of the year official helping out at many Sussex and Sussex Schools Cross-country events during the winter months. The South of England Athletics Association (SEAA) presented him with a 30+ year long service award recently. Early responses to this sad news was that Mike was a big, gentle and caring man who was always eager to help anyone and who never had a bad word for anyone.

Officials will miss him and remember him as a lovely man, good to work with and always at athletics matches with a big smile and friendly face, and a great supporter of schools events. Mike lost his wife Shelagh – who had suffered from M.S for many years – a decade ago and leaves a daughter Mary and son John and three grandsons. Athletics, particularly in Sussex will not be the same without him.

Mike Carrington Reports