A TRUE Northumbrian who achieved great success in athletics has died aged 85.
George Davidson lived at Warkworth for much of his life, but having been born near Rothbury ‘his heart belonged’ in the village and he remained involved in it until his death.
The second youngest in a large farming family, he was born at Thorneyhaugh, had eight brothers and three sisters and was naturally competitive all of his life.
He was brought up on the farm but showed great athletic prowess from an early age and became an athlete of great renown in the north of England and Scotland.
He achieved great success over many years in athletic disciplines including the high jump, pole vault, long jump, 100 and 200 yards sprints, 110 yards, wrestling, tossing the caber, bolster and bar and throwing the 56lb weight.
He was still achieving jumps of more than 12 feet in the pole vault when he retired at the age of 60.
George was given the Royal treatment at Grasmere Sports as a Champion of Champions and received a similar accolade at The Royal Highland Gathering at Braemar in 2003.
He was also one of the founder members of Thropton Wrestling Academy and was even, up to this year, in great demand as a judge at many of the local shows.
George was always keen to encourage youngsters into sport, believing it channelled their energy into a positive force.
In later life, he became a very active member of the Ashington Branch of The Coldstream Guards Association, as he joined 2nd Battalion The Coldstream Guards at the tail-end of the Second World War and served in Palestine immediately following the war.
He was chairman and welfare officer for 15 years and also served as president and honorary vice-president.
He married Marion Crosby, the daughter of Cragside’s head gardener. They had three children, Alison, Judith and George Jnr, and four grandchildren, Michael, Victoria, Catherine and Charlotte, of whom they were both immensely proud.
Joan died in January 2010, just short of their 60th wedding anniversary.
Daughter Judith said: “He was a renowned local character, greatly admired and respected. He had a wonderful life philosophy which meant he treated everyone the same, be they the Duke of Northumberland or the local road sweeper.
“He always had a kind word for all and treated everyone he met with kindness and respect. He was a real countryman and was well versed in country crafts.
“A gifted stick maker, he often donated his walking sticks to charitable causes. One of his sticks even reached an auction price of over £200.”
She added: “He had great pride in his county and his country, and met the Queen and Prince Philip on several occasions.
“Shortly before his death, he was featured on TV and the newspaper when he met them again during their recent visit to Alnwick this summer. This was a fitting final chapter to George’s very full and enjoyable life.”
George was also a regular in the Gazette in the 1960s when his athletics career was in full swing.
He died on September 11 at Rothbury Community Hospital.
His funeral was held on Saturday, September 17, with the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band, led by Drum Major David Brown, in attendance, and standards from The Coldstream Guards Association and The Royal British Legion.
The Last Post was played by cornet player Ron Creasey, retired Drum Major Kings Own Scottish Border Regiment.