6 November 2015
Laurie Hutton Vale
Last month, the athletics community lost one of its valued officials with the passing of Laurie Hutton on 22 October 2015.
Laurie Hutton became involved in athletics, with the Sutherland club in about 1967 and remained with them until 1975. As his son Peter joined the University of NSW club in the mid-1970, so did Laurie. Around this time he also became more heavily involved in athletics in two roles, as a regular official and state team manager.
Laurie was a member of the start line crew and although a qualified starter he was for many years one of the key officials who weekly meet all the track athletes, as he checked your named off at the start of an event. He officiated at state, national championships and the three major events in Australia during his time, the 1977 Pacific Conference Games, 1982 Commonwealth Games and 1985 IAAF World Cup.
His other key involved was with team management; in 1975 he managed the NSW sub-junior team and continued for years with NSW state teams and interstate matches. He graduated to national teams, one was the 1989 IAAF World Indoor championships, where as manager he oversaw Kerry Saxby win gold in the 3000m walk in world record time.
His team management skills were tested in 1981 when he had to manage a difficult situation where a NSW athlete caused a flight from Adelaide to Sydney to be diverted to Melbourne.
In the mid-80s he served on the Athletics NSW Board of Management in the portfolio of Member for Officials and was convener of the officials standing committee.
For his service to athletics he was awarded Athletics NSW and Athletics Australia life membership.
Laurie’s son, Peter, was one of NSW’s leading middle-distance runners in the ‘70s and ‘80s, winning national medals in the steeple and eight NSW titles (3000m steeplechase 1979, to 1982 and 1985, 1500m 1979 & 1982 and mile 1980)
Brian Roe, who worked closely with Laurie in NSW for a few years in the ‘80s, recalled his retirement.
“He was of the strong belief that officials should not hang around when their time was done and accordingly he retired from administration, officiating and team management in the 1990s to devote his full time to his greatest love, his family - wife and soulmate Marie, their sons Allan and Peter and daughter Anne, and their partners and families.”
Laurie lost his battle with stomach cancer at 88 years of age.
To read more about Laurie Hutton, a longtime friend, Brian Roe has written a tribute and vale here.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall, with Brian Roe for Athletics NSW
Images: Laurie Hutton at the world cup in 1985. (images courtesy of Peter Hutton)