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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Tributes paid after sudden death of Cumbrian athletics coach

Tributes have been paid to a popular coach whose sudden death at the age of 39 has left a community in shock.

Stephen Hughes  photo
Stephen Hughes

Stephen Hughes, the Seaton Athletic Club coach, won the Cumbrian Coach of the Year award in 2009. Mr Hughes, of Westcroft, Seaton was also named Allerdale Sport Awards Coach of the Year last year.

Close friend Keith Hunton, chairman of Seaton Athletic Club, said: “Stephen’s death has been a great shock to everyone at the club.

“We have lost a highly knowledgeable coach but more importantly a good friend and colleague to everyone that knew him.

“At this sad time everyone from Seaton Athletic Club is thinking of Stephen’s family, especially his Mam and Dad, Terry and Margaret, his sister Julie and his brother-in-law Martin and the kids.”

He added: “We would request that they are left alone to grieve in private.”

Mr Hughes, who died on Thursday, was a high jump expert and helped lead the team to a record points haul in the Cumbria League last year. He was also Cumbria’s high jump coach, and was being mentored by England coaches Denis Doyle and Mike Holmes.

In 2012, Mr Hughes coached three jumpers from Seaton to the English Schools Championship, one of whom had only been in the sport for three months.

Coaching four times a week, Mr Hughes helped Emily Cummings win bronze at the English Schools Championship and break a 29-year county record.

Seaton Athletic Club was founded by his father 43 years ago. Mr Hunton said Mr Hughes had been involved with athletics as soon as he could walk.

As well as his mother and father, sister and brother-in-law, he leaves behind a nephew, Oliver, and niece, Zoe.

The funeral service will be held at St Paul’s Church, Seaton on Friday from 9.45am, followed by a private cremation.

Donations can be made to the Cancer Trust, the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle or Seaton Athletic Club.

Tributes to Mr Hughes have flooded onto the social networking site Facebook.

Kerry Bell wrote: “RIP Ste! Thanks for giving me some of the best memories from my younger Seaton AC days.

“Only hope you know how much you were appreciated.”

Tim Ferris wrote: “Sad, sad day, you’ll be sorely missed.”

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