16th April 1940 – 16th February 2021
Arthur was born on 16th April 1940 in Newcastle under Lyme where he grew up with parents Percy and Jane. He attended Broad Meadow High School and became Head Boy. Arthur was keen on sport and played goal keeper for the school team and continued playing when he left school whilst starting working life as an Engineer. He also taught weight training at the local Youth Club where he met his wife Christine.
In August 1961 they married and lived together for 59 happy years. In May 1965 their first son Nigel was born and two years later due to Arthur’s work they relocated to North Wales where they settled and in October 1968 their second son Neil was born.
In the early 1970’s Colwyn Bay Athletic Club was founded, two of the main protagonists being Arthur Bebbington and Eileen Haskins MBE.
Arthur specialised in Middle and Long distance running while Eileen specialised in Sprinting, and, with the recruitment later of one or two Field event coaches, formed the nucleus of what was, and still is today, a very successful club.
Arthur involved his whole family, and with their support, they took on nearly all of the duties involved in establishing the everyday running of an athletic club. Initially as you can imagine this was an immense task with so few involved.
Arthur had the vision and determination to succeed. He started with just a handful of athletes, selected personally, mainly after visiting school sports days, and began to grow the club to be one of the most successful in Wales.
In those early days the arena was composed of a cinder track.Arthur was to ensure he had close links with Colwyn Borough Council and in 1989 he had secured the approval to have the track upgraded to an 8 lane all weather synthetic surface which, although revamped since then, is the same surface you see today.
Arthur had been successful in attracting the famous Lynn Davies for the opening ceremony
Lynn Davies, long jumper, nicknamed “Lynn the Leap” is the only Welsh Athlete to ever win an Olympic Gold in a Track & Field event to date.
Lynn Davies was awarded the MBE and later the C.B.E. (June 2006). A plaque can be seen, commemorating the celebration of the opening of our track at the entrance to the stadium.
The Club went from strength to strength under Arthur who coached many athletes including both his sons that represented North Wales and Wales. The Club under his leadership won many Welsh League and Cheshire League titles and even got a team to the semi- finals of the British League. Arthur’s life was dominated with athletics from track disciplines to cross country and road running where he was involved for many years in the organisation of theclub’s own race Twin Piers 10k which started in 1979 and has continued to be successful to date.
In 1993 Arthur was awarded by Welsh Athletics ‘Meritorious Award’ for outstanding contribution to the sport, a well-deserved recognition and honour for his motivation, dedication and commitment. Arthur and his wife Christine became life presidents of Colwyn Bay Athletic Club which made him very proud.
Arthur’s retirement in 2002 was to leave a legacy of one of the most established, respected and hugely successful clubs within Welsh Athletics.He was an inspirational character creating an environment of “Fun to Fulfilment” our UKA motto today.Arthur and Christine moved to Spain where they lived happily until 2016 when they returned home due to Arthur’s deteriorating health.
In 2018 Arthur was invited to the club to present the awards of Twin Piers 10k to help celebrate the 40th year of the race which was a fitting tribute. In 2020 sadly due to ill health Arthur could not be present to witness Daniel his grandson win the race but Daniel visited him on his way home and Arthur was surprised and very pleased to see the winning trophy in his hands. A perfect moment in both their lives.
The design of the club’s colours orange and black with the seahorse logo were carried over many years with distinction by hundreds of successful athletes. The colours remain the same today of course and the members are determined to ensure the success and hard work that Arthur epitomised is not lost in the present, nor future custodians of his beloved club.
Arthur sadly passed away on 16th February 2021 aged 80 years and will be sadly missed by all that knew him.