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Tribute to Athletics Stalwart Lyn Cushing

31/03/2020 00:00, In Blog / Club Notice Board /

Last week the athletics community in Wales was left devastated with the news of the passing of athletics stalwart Linda Cushing.

Lyn was a formidable force across so many aspects of the sport, her loss will be felt by the whole athletics community of Wales. Lyn was a driving force behind the formation and development of Rhymney Valley AC and much of the club's success to date is down to her personality, determination, tireless work ethic and infectious passion.

Lyn also was a Level 3 Track & Field official serving as both a Timekeeper and Track Judge, she was ever-present at local, regional and national events. In addition, she was the secretary of the Welsh Athletics General Council for a number of years. In 2014 she was awarded the ‘Services to Club Development’ award as part of the Welsh Athletics National Awards Programme. 

 Please see below a message from Ruth Powell, Chair of Rhymney Valley AC:

 "On behalf of all members Rhymney Valley AC (RVAC), I would like to convey that we are all absolutely devastated that our amazing Secretary and dear friend Lyn Cushing has passed away. Many of you will know that Lyn had been ill for some time and she certainly gave cancer a brave and tough fight!

 I met Lyn in September 2013 on the gate of Bargoed Track collecting money and children’s dates of birth for a newly launched ‘athletics club’. Typical of that lady that she was, Lyn had got involved by taking two of her granddaughters along to the session and, of course, offered to help. I was taking my two boys on a weekly basis and our friendship grew from there. This was back in 2014 and at the time we had around 15 or so children from the ages of 5 to 13 playing games and having fun all being led by a young Sports Leader. Lyn asked if I would meet with Sport Caerphilly (Caerphilly County Borough Council Sports Development Unit) and Welsh Athletics to discuss what was happening with the club and what we could do to move it forward, at that time little did we know that we’d end up returning from that meeting as the new Secretary and Chair of the club! Deb Howells and Lyn’s daughter Claire joined us as coaches and RVAC was in the making. 

Lyn’s vision was for RVAC was to create a real community club and a club for all. She wanted everyone to play a part regardless of how little they felt they could offer and valued any contribution, she wanted to change the community we live in for the benefit of our children and provide an athletics club for them and their families.. and she certainly did that! She made time for everyone, loved talking to everyone and throughout the entire time there was never a moan. 

Lyn was so inspiring she had been part of a group to turn the old Rhiw Syr Daffydd to Cwm Derwen, believing every child has a right to a Welsh Language Education if they wanted it, she set up a ladies choir, the Melody Makers which she absolutely loved being part of and she fully immersed herself in the world of athletics by sitting on various athletics councils and committees including; the East Wales Regional Athletics Council, General Council, the Officials Committee and the Track and Field Committee, she willingly attended any meetings she was invited too (into the hundreds!) as well as sourced thousands of pounds worth of funding for RVAC. Such was her passion she would be in regular contact with anyone who could provide funding or support, she sat on the Caerphilly County Borough Council Community Chest Panel and until just a few weeks ago was working closely with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust Sport Wales and Gavo to add a community hub to the new athletics track which will be established in Oakdale.

However, her most passionate place was officiating on the Track went on to be a Level 3 Timekeeper and loved being Chief...She would volunteer every weekend sometimes both Saturdays and Sundays, running up figures of 50+ athletics meetings a year. Always first in the car park and the last to leave, she would stand all day on the finish, rushing to fit in a toilet break so she could time every race. Occasionally she'd be told off for cheering on the RVAC athletes (but it never really bothered her!).

Lyn was recognised by Sport Caerphilly, Welsh Athletics and Gelli Gaer Town Council for her amazing contribution to regional and national activities. Even with her cancer diagnosis, she met up with local breast cancer support group and joined the fundraising committee for the New Breast Cancer unit to be built in Ystrad Mynach. 

For our club and the wider community, Lyn was inspiring, strong, caring, committed and passionate, to name just a few words used to describe her. She really did want the best for everyone she came into contact with and we can honestly say that they do not make people like Lyn very often. I feel proud to have been part of her life and been so close to her for the last 7 years and I know this is echoed by all that she met.

The RVAC family are all feeling devastated by this huge loss whilst sending all of our love to Lyn’s wonderful family at this time.