Shropshire Star

Hundreds of Telford parkrunners celebrate life and legacy of stalwart Jim Hussey

Hundreds of parkrunners gathered this weekend to celebrate the life and legacy of their 'local legend' Jim Hussey in a way he would definitely have approved of.

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The start of the run

Joined by members of Jim's family, an impressive 613 runners donned their club colours with pride for the 85-year-old who died on Monday, January 16.

Tributes were paid by Telford parkrun organiser Kim Fawke who made a speech, followed by a moving rendition of The Last Post on the trumpet.

Jim pictured at his home in Telford late last year

Jim had been a stalwart of the Telford weekly 5k event for many years, running for many years until he became too ill - at which point the diminutive Jim would instead turn up on Saturday mornings to bellow words of encouragement at runners from a tree stump near the busiest junction of the route.

Despite the initial event in Jim's memory having to be cancelled on January 21 due to potentially dangerous conditions on the route, that didn't stop people coming out in force this Saturday in honour of Jim.

Kim said: "It means a lot to us, it's brought the two families together. I was a really close friend of Jim for 10 years and I was with him a couple of days before he died.

"I have got to know Jim's family over the last couple of months, but they said they wanted to be here as they knew parkrun meant so much to Jim.

"It's almost like a big family and I think that's what we were to Jim, even when he couldn't run it was the social aspect."

Kim Fawke with Jim's son Andy and a signed RAF running top

Kim had earlier announced: "Jim's funeral will be on Wednesday, February 22, at Telford Crematorium at 1.30pm.

"Jim wouldn't want to see any of us upset. His family want it to be a celebration – Jim knows people will be sad but he wants it to be a celebration of his life."

Anyone who comes is asked to wear running club colours, and to greet Jim on the day in the way he cajoled so many runners at parkrun: "Come on young man/lady, all the way!"

Jim returned to running after parkrun came to Telford in 2013 and struck up a firm friendship with the early pioneers of the weekend event.

Winning a walk race for the RAF in 1967

In his younger days, Jim had been a very good runner – not international standard, he would often point out, but better than an average runner.

After joining the military in October 1955, Jim was given the choice of playing football or cross country running - he opted for the latter.

Jim said that the RAF gave him the opportunity to embrace his true passion of running, making full use of the force's running tracks wherever in the world he was posted.

He competed in every race going, and enjoyed testing himself against some of the force's top athletes.

Jim spoke of one Inter-service Championship in the Middle East between Navy, Army and Air Force runners in which he ran a 4:59 mile in bare feet on a sandy track in scorching heat – he came second in that race.

And it was while stationed at RAF Cosford between 1974 and 1981 that he and a band of other running servicemen challenged each other and kept each other honest.

Having spent time at RAF Cosford, Jim and his wife Teresa settled in Sutton Hill where they had eight children together.

Jim is survived by his children, 24 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. His wife Teresa died with dementia in 2011.

Margaret Jackson with Billy, looking after some of the many floral tributes that have been appearing near the route since Jim's death

Jim's son Andy said that the funeral would be an opportunity to bring the two families Jim had together – and that they wanted it to be a celebration of his life.

They would like to hear from anyone who has short stories or memories of Jim. If you'd like to share something, contact

Andy Hussey said: "Running was his life and it always has been, all of his life.

"He never lost his humour, so that's why we think that's the kind of thing we need to be heading with. The funeral is going to be a stand-up comedy and the wake like a party.

"He supported everybody and he always said he didn't do anything that anyone else couldn't have done, but the difference is he did it. He took it upon himself to cheer people on and give encouraging words."

Jim celebrating his 300th parkrun at Telford in 2019

There are plans for a lasting memorial to Jim near the Telford parkrun route, which may take the form of a bench.

Finishing her speech on the day and ensuring that Jim had the final word, Kim reiterated the last words Jim said to her.

They were: "Remember young lady, I may not be here in body, but I will always be with you parkrunners in spirit."