Former Moree resident Brian Johnston has been honoured in the naming of the Brian Johnston Athletics Track in Ashmore on the Gold Coast.
Johnston, who was born in Moree in 1947, was a passionate supporter of Little Athletics, and had a founding role in developing athletics as a sport in Queensland. He died in 2010 aged 63.
Mr Johnston was brought up in Moree, and worked as a painter with his brother Max.
He married a local lady, Sue Kay, and the pair moved to the Gold Coast in 1978.
Johnston’s cousin Ron Clissold said he had been involved in rugby league and long distance running while in Moree, competing in fun runs and 10km races.
After moving to the Gold Coast, he became involved in establishing Little Athletics, first in Runaway Bay and then in Ashmore.
Johnston’s passion for athletics led to him becoming a coach and a qualified official with Athletics Australia and the Queensland Little Athletics Association (QLAA) in all disciplines.
He campaigned to have a tartan running track set up at Griffith University’s campus, and spent three years on the board of management of QLAA as competition manager in the early 90s and later four years on the QLAA sub-committee.
He also played a huge role in the formation of the Ashmore Little Athletics Club in 1984, and subsequently coached there up to six days a week free of charge.
Many successful athletes started out being coached by Johnston, including Olympic hurdler Sally Pearson.
Debbie Spence, secretary of Ashmore Little Athletics Club said Johnston was instrumental in developing athletics as a sport in QLD.
Clissold said his cousin always had a passion for helping others.
“He had a passion and he could bring out the talent in others.
“I put him just behind Garry and Shane Sutton as the greatest coaches out of Moree.”
There were over 200 people present at the naming of the track, including Johnston’s son and daughter and his three grandchildren.
“He is greatly missed by all the family and it is great to see somebody recognised for dedicating their lives to other people,” Clissold said.