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Ipswich athlete Ann to continue coaching athletics as she turns 80 this weekend

PUBLISHED: 07:03 13 October 2017

Dominique Fell-Clark from sponsor PolicyBee (right), presents the outstanding contribution to volunteering award to Ann Negus at the Community Action Suffolk awards. Picture: BEN MATTHEWS/CAS

Dominique Fell-Clark from sponsor PolicyBee (right), presents the outstanding contribution to volunteering award to Ann Negus at the Community Action Suffolk awards. Picture: BEN MATTHEWS/CAS

Ben Matthews

An Ipswich athletics coach who continues to train those in the sport as she approaches her 80th birthday has been recognised with an outstanding award to volunteering.

Ann Negus on the Nortgate athletics track.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Ann Negus on the Nortgate athletics track. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ann Negus has been actively coaching athletics for well over 50 years, and even as she prepares to turn 80 tomorrow continues to work with the Orwell Panthers Disability Athletics Club.

In recognition of her astonishing efforts, Mrs Negus was given the outstanding contribution to volunteering in the recent Community Action Suffolk awards.

“I didn’t know anything until I got a letter a month before the awards,” she said.

Ann Negus accepts the outstanding contribution to volunteering award from Community Action Suffolk. Picture: BEN MATTHEWS/CAS Ann Negus accepts the outstanding contribution to volunteering award from Community Action Suffolk. Picture: BEN MATTHEWS/CAS

“I have been doing it for so long I didn’t even think about it, but I was so overwhelmed getting it.

“I have been coaching a number of years but there are others who do as much as I do.”

Mrs Negus has been with the club since it formed in 2004, having coached other clubs in Suffolk and Cambridge in the past. The active mother-of-two also helps run coffee mornings at Hanover Court.

Ann Negus on the Nortgate athletics track.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Ann Negus on the Nortgate athletics track. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She first began her love of athletics in school, where she particularly enjoyed high jump and hurdles, and soon found she helped support and instruct other youngsters when she was in her late teens as an early start to coaching.

“I would help out when I was 14 or 15, encouraging one or two others and it has just carried on from there,” she said.

Mrs Negus, who used to run the Bramford Road Post Office with her late husband Albert for 18 years, regularly tends her garden and keeps active in the ActivIpswich sports sesions, which she says has helped her with early signs of Parkinson’s.

Ann Negus with Claire Williams with Paul Davis on the Nortgate athletics track at the Orwell Panthers session.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Ann Negus with Claire Williams with Paul Davis on the Nortgate athletics track at the Orwell Panthers session. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

But despite her half century coaching athletics, Mrs Negus is still inspired by those she works with at Orwell Panthers.

“Sometimes with able-bodied people they say they don’t feel like doing something but you don’t get that with disabled people – they really want to put the effort in.

“It’s about getting people interested in sport when they are young.”

Old photograph of Ann Negus (right).  Picture: Contributed Old photograph of Ann Negus (right). Picture: Contributed

Mrs Negus is celebrating her 80th with family in Lowestoft on Saturday, but has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

She added: “So far it’s [Parkinson’s] pretty under control – you have got to keep going because once you start giving up it takes over.”

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