Tributes have been paid to Ray Scovell, one of the Island’s top sporting figures, after he died aged 76 on Tuesday having contracted Covid.
Ray, of Sandown, was best known for his work in athletics and was the community development officer for the IW Council Sports Unit. He set up the Medina Park run and Junior Park run, guided hammer-thrower Andy Frost to the Commonwealth Games and helped the early career of Scottish international Islander Nick Percy in the discus.
Ray also won the 2017 Isle of Wight Sports Achievement Awards for service to sports on the Island.
Susie Sheldon, Isle of Wight Lord-Lieutenant and a trustee of the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation, told the IW Observer: “I was privileged to know Ray. He was a true gentleman and a rightly respected member of our Island Community.
“As a passionate supporter of athletics it didn’t matter to him who you were and whether you were doing Park run, couch to 5k or were an international athlete. He would give everyone as much time and respect as the next.
“Island Athletics and, indeed, the wider community will miss him hugely and the values of kindness and respect that he personified.”
Martin Goodall, of the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation, said: “It is very sad news indeed. Ray was a supporter of people, no matter who they were, and whether they were doing couch to 5k or were international athletes.
“A true gentleman and a great advocate for athletics and ‘sport for all’. Park run was his baby on the Island and will be a lasting legacy.
“He was athletics organiser for the Island Games here in 2011 and coached Andy Frost and Nick Percy to international standard. There are lots of people on my Strava feed running ‘5k for Ray’. He will be missed by many, many people across the Island. Me included.”
A post on the West Wight Sports and Community Facebook page said: “A champion of community sport. A legend in the Isle of Wight athletics community. An inspiration to so many of all ages. A victim of Covid. Thank you for bringing Park run to the Isle of Wight. Thank you for your dedication to Grassroots sport. You leave a huge hole in the Isle of Wight sports community.”
Ray also served in the Royal Navy before working at Temperature in Lake and later as a milkman.
He is survived by wife, Rosemary, daughter, Claire and grandson, Simon.