TREASURED memorabilia belonging to a Wrexham Olympian has been found years after it had seemed lost for ever.
The late Dr Nick Whitehead OBE, from Brymbo, earned a bronze medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome in the men’s 4 x 100m relay. He went on to present the vest he wore during the event to his old school St Mary’s Primary.
But his younger sister Marie Jones, from Caego, contacted the school in Brymbo two years ago to enquire about the possibility of it being returned to the family, only for them to find it was missing.
She said: “He had donated it to the school in Brymbo and they had put it in a glass case with other memorabilia. I asked for it back a couple of years ago but it had been misplaced when alterations were being made at the school.
“I thought it was lost for ever, and we’d never see it again, but they found it in a bag in the basement last week.”
Mrs Jones said she was stunned when they told her of the discovery: “I couldn’t speak when I first saw it again. I needed five minutes to come around. I was so over the moon.
“He has a grandson who was born after he passed away, so never got to meet him. He’s well into his sport so I’m going to give it to him.”
Born in 1933, Dr Whitehead became a Loughborough Champion, British Universities Champion, Welsh Champion (100m and 200m) and record holder. He was also a Great Britain International and also captained Wales and won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, Perth in 1962.
In 1980 he was Britain’s overall manager at the Moscow Olympics and he was also in charge of the team at the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles.
Dr Whitehead was also the author of 14 books and 35 research articles lecturing in academic circles all over the world. He worked for more than 30 years in sport for the disabled, and was founder chairman and president of the Federation of Sports Associations for the Disabled (Wales).
From 1985 to 1995, he was the deputy director of the Sports Council for Wales. He was awarded the OBE for services to sport in 1985.
In 2001 his contribution to local sport was recognised when Glyndwr University awarded him an Honorary Fellowship, and a lecture theatre there was named in his honour following his death, aged 69 in 2002 from cancer of the pancreas.
He helped to develop the sports faculty at the university and had been chosen to carry the Commonwealth Torch when it visited in 2002 – but was unable to due to his illness at the time.