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S c r a p b o o k

Dave Arnold: 1934 - 2006

This web page is offered as a tribute to Dave Arnold who died of cancer in 2006.

The membership list says that Dave joined the club in 1976. In 1981 he recorded what was then a club over 40 (veteran) marathon best of 2-50.55, in the first ever London Marathon.

He is best known as Kelly Holmes coach playing a huge part in her career and success, firstly when she was in her teenage years, as a member of Tonbridge AC, winning English Schools Championships etc and then in a second spell in the late 90's, up until 2002.

"Dave has been influential in many athletes' careers, helping them either to achieve their potential or just enjoy the sport. He will be really missed as a coach because he was absolutely fantastic." - Kelly Holmes.

Kelly has a tribute on her own website, DoubleGold.

After Kelly's victories in Athens, Dave joined the thousands who welcomed her back to her home town of Tonbridge. Speaking to reporters at the time, he said:
"I thought she would do something great one day, I know it's all very well saying that now but that's the honest truth - I really thought she had something special and I'm glad it's proved to be correct . . . She's achieved her dream and I suppose you could say that's my dream too."

Dave spent his last few days at the Hospice in the Weald, in Pembury, which is one of Kelly's Charities.

"The world of athletics' coaching has lost a demonstrably fine coach." - Dave Cross

Dave was very much his own man and when asked if the athletes he was coaching would be available to compete, would say 'no' if he felt that it would not be best for them. He always had his athletes' best interests at heart.

"I best remember Dave as being someone who would be down at the track all year round in all conditions. He often said to me that if only all the athletes were as consistent in appearing for training as coaches were then they would be really good ! Even in 2006, when he must have known that he was quite ill, he was down at the track and even cycling alongside Sophie Regis and Kellie Saul (training member of TAC), as they went for their runs." - Mark Hookway.

"Dave Arnold was my coach for the past four and a half years. We met at a Kent coaching squad, for middle distance runners, for which he was my instructor. His training to me was invaluable. I can honestly say I enjoyed every single training session with Dave. I trained four times a week and every session was different. We trained in all weathers, snow, rain, gusting winds, on the track, around the fields, hill training at Knole park. Dave also used to support me at competitions, usually getting lost along the way, but he always turned up eventually. Dave was an honest and caring person, who always told the truth, even if it wasnt what you always wanted to hear. Dedication, hard work and self disipline are needed to be a good athlete, is what Dave believed. Dave had so many excellent coaching qualities, I hope I can retain some of the knowledge he gave me. He was a very fit man, always running about and riding his bike, which he used to fall off on the odd occasion. I will try to carry on with my running, with the help of Dave's grandson, Michael. Dave believed in me and it would be what he wanted. Giving up is not an option. I will always remember Dave with the most fondest memories. He was a huge part of my life, in the time I knew him. Life will never be the same without Dave but I know he will always be with me forever and hopefully, one day, be proud of me." - Kellie Saul (age 15).

On top of his coaching, Dave also spent much time on behalf of Tonbridge AC, representing us on various committees and in liaison with Tonbridge School and the Borough Council. Dave was also a key mover in getting the lights installed at the track.

"I know that there weren't many as fortunate as ourselves to get to know Dave as well as we did, a humble and godly man with modest ways which I guess could have been misunderstood by some. Dave stood firmly by his beliefs always, insisting that the athlete's health and safety must come first. A quiet man with great knowledge and skill which he'd gained over many years, yet more than happy to give his time and share his experience to all who asked for advice". - Kandy Regis

Going back to the late 1970s, Dave's daughter Sharon was a member of the club and appears in the 1976 photo of the club team that won four trophies at Eastbourne (click here).

To finish, a poetic tribute from Kandy Regis:

"The Dave we knew had a passion for athletics that never tired and he freely gave his devoted attention to everyone he coached, patiently helping them towards achieving their full potential, often at great personal cost. Each one of them was an individual to him and I often said that the track was like his garden and we as parents had given him our children as his seeds, which he lovingly fed and watered through training and nurturing, watching them grow, slowly developing within their personal capabilities, under his guidance and in his loving care."

Tonbridge AC sends condolences to Dave's wife Carol, his daughter Sharon, and his son Laurence.