Ian Brown - in memoriam

As Future Sport North East looks ahead to a summer of sport and prepares to award more grants to talented youngsters in the region, our team has paused to reflect on the passing of Ian Brown late last year.  Ian was chairman of our grants panel and played a major role in making sure that the money we raised was used to fulfil our aims and objectives.  A wise and kind man, Ian was hugely passionate about sport in the North East and worked hard to make sure that we assisted as many young people with potential as we could.


As well as being a key member of the Future Sport North East team, Ian spent much of his life heavily involved in grass roots sports clubs in the region. He was president of both Billingham Rugby Club and Yarm Tennis Club.


Ian represented Yarm Tennis Club for more than 30 years, playing in league and cup competitions for many years until ill health restricted his appearances. In 1989, he became club vice-captain and stepped up as captain in 1990 and retained that position for the next 20 years.


His service to grass roots rugby was equally impressive. He initially played for Stockton Rugby Club before becoming a stalwart of Billingham Rugby Club and won caps for Durham county. The highlight of his sporting career came in 1964 when he played for North Eastern Counties against New Zealand at Harrogate.


Philip Lewis, chairman of Future Sport North East, said: "Ian was a valued colleague and friend. His knowledge and interest in the development of sport in the North-East was remarkable and for many years he played a vital role in the distribution of grants to assist youngsters in starting their sporting development. Many today will remember him with thanks and affection."


Yarm Tennis Club committee member John Schofield said: "I knew Ian for more than 30 years and played tennis with him and against him. I can't ever remember him getting annoyed.


"Ian was truly a gentle giant of a man who was liked, respected and loved by all who knew him. His memory will live long in our hearts and he will be truly missed."


Ian received the Durham and Cleveland Lawn Tennis Association Award for Meritorious Service to Tennis at the county's annual general meeting in September but was too ill to be there. Ian had been ill for some time and died on Christmas Day. He was 78 and leaves a widow, Anne, a son, Andrew, and daughter, Jane.


Everyone at Future Sport North East will miss Ian, as both a colleague and a good friend and we will endeavour to continue his good work in awarding grants to help the talented sporting youngsters of our region.