DEFYING his advancing years, inspirational Albert Shucksmith twice conquered a popular north Northumberland race – aged 89 and 91.
Decked out in military uniform, the war veteran received a hero’s welcome and a guard of honour in 2010 as he completed the Druridge Bay 10K for the second time, coming home in two hours and 40 minutes.
And now, a special trophy has been unveiled in honour of the plucky 93-year-old, better known as Granda Shuck, who passed away in March.
The heartwarming gesture has been made by the Druridge Bay 10K race committee, to recognise his efforts and contribution to the event, which he first tackled in 2008.
Fittingly, the new piece of silverware – the Albert Shucksmith Memorial Trophy – will be handed out to the oldest competitor in this year’s race, which takes place on Sunday, June 3.
It is a tribute which has delighted Granda Shuck’s family.
And one which they say would have left the golden oldie from Hadston absolutely delighted.
“It is a wonderful idea,” said one of his granddaughters Dawn Laverick.
The 45-year-old from Red Row added: “We are just absolutely thrilled to pieces and Granda would have been jumping through hoops if he had known this was happening because he was so proud when he did the 10K.
“He just never would have believed it.
“We are really honoured that the committee wanted to do this for granda.
“They have also asked if one of us will present the trophy.”
Ten of Granda Shuck’s family and friends, including Dawn, are taking part in the event this year.
They will be wearing special T-shirts, which will have his name on, as well as showing a picture of him, taken from when he participated in the 2008 event.
“We are wearing these T-shirts so he will be doing the event with us,” added Dawn.
Jan-Marie Claridge, marketing and PR officer for the race committee, said Albert will be missed this year.
She added: “Albert was a well-loved member of the Druridge Bay community and I, along with the Druridge Bay 10K committee, thought it right and fitting to recognise his achievements by creating the Albert Shucksmith Memorial Trophy.
“We will certainly miss Albert with his strong will and determination at this year’s event and in future events here at Druridge Bay.
“We are asking people young and old to sign up for this year’s event in memory of Albert.”
Postal entries are now closed for the run, which starts at Druridge Bay Country Park visitor centre at 10.30am, but entrants can still enter on the day, before 10am, for £17.50.
The run is in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland and is open to competitive club runners, joggers and even fancy-dress walkers.
Participants must be 13 and over, but under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
As mentioned in last week’s Gazette, if you haven’t already entered, you could be in with a chance of winning a place on the run, as well as a pre-race training session with Run England, a Northern Runner breathable technical running T-shirt and a £5 voucher to spend in Marshall’s Outdoor Superstore.
To enter the competition and stand a chance of winning the goodies, simply answer the following question:
Which charity is being supported by this year’s Druridge Bay 10K?
Send your answer, with your name, address and contact number to Druridge Bay 10K Competition, Northumberland Gazette, 32 Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1PN.
The closing date is tomorrow.
For more information about the event, visit www.druridgebay10k.org.uk