Family’s tribute to one of city’s best athletes

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The son of one of the city’s first athletes to represent Great Britain has paid tribute to his father.

Bob Walker, Wakefield Harriers’ oldest international athlete, died earlier this month, at the age of 80.

His funeral was held at Kettlethorpe Crematorium on Monday.

His son Gary, 58, said: “Everything was about sport for dad. He just loved it.

“He was an all round athlete. He was doing 20 mile races and finishing in the top ten and then he was doing decathlons, and race walking as well. He just had unbelievable talent.”

He added: “He supported us through everything. It wasn’t like having a dad it was like having a friend.”

Mr Walker studied at Whitwood Technical College and was a quantity surveyor by trade.

In 1956, he undertook his national service training in Worcester and was then posted on Christmas Island with the Royal Engineers, testing atomic bombs.

He was later called back to the island on another tour of duty and witnessed the detonation of five of the bombs.

He was passionate about sport and won medals in cross country, road running and race walking.

And in 1963, he was selected to represent Great Britain in an international decathlon in Holland, becoming the second Wakefield athlete to gain international honours.

Mr Walker’s family said: “Bob was trustworthy and completely reliable and dependable. He had a wicked sense of humour that he passed on to his sons.

“A man of strong will, hard work and high standards.

“He was determined that these qualities should be his legacy.”