Tributes are paid to athlete Reg Wild

Reg Wild with his wife Jean and past mayor Maureen Charlesworth
Reg Wild with his wife Jean and past mayor Maureen Charlesworth

A MUCH-LOVED athlete who devoted his life to community causes has lost a long-running battle with cancer.

Reg Wild, a builder by trade, died at his home in Upper Park Road on Saturday (August 13). The 72-year-old had fought Hodgkin’s lymphoma for years.

His death leaves a gaping hole in the town’s athletic community, with tributes from runners across 1066 Country and Europe pouring in to his family.

Jean Wild, 69, was married to Reg for 50 years. The couple were due to celebrate their golden wedding this October.

Speaking amid stacks of flowers and piles of condolence cards, Mrs Wild said: “If anyone has a crown in their family he was certainly the jewel in ours.

“He gave his life to the track and fought to the end. When you loved someone like I loved him, it’s so hard to take his loss.”

Born in Kent in 1939, Reg met Jean aged just 16. After his national service, the couple moved down to Milward Road, where Reg began a lifelong relationship with Hastings Athletic Club.

Trainer, chairman and president at various times, Reg nurtured several world-class athletes including Olympian Shaun Baldock. He worked as a trainer at the Hastings Seagulls Swimming Club, and helped found the Hastings Half Marathon. In 2001, he represented England in Brisbane at the World Veterans Athletics Championships.

Son Jason Wild said: “Up to one month ago he was up at the gym on the treadmill. Talk about fighting to the end. He never moaned about his condition. He never gave up.”

Borough councillor Maureen Charlesworth, a former Hastings mayor, gave Reg a Mayoral Award in June 2010.

“He did so much good locally and will be deeply missed,” she said.

“I felt he deserved that award very much. I was honoured to give it to him.”

Reg’s funeral starts at 10.30am at St John’s Church, Upper Church Road, on Tuesday, August 30. Afterwards, the procession moves to William Parker athletics track for a lap of honour.

All are welcome to the service and the procession. The family ask that donations for St Michael’s Hospice be sent to 15, Upper Church Road, St Leonards, TN37 7AS.

- See page 64 for sporting tributes