Tributes have been paid to a life-long advocate of athletics in Wirral after he passed away last week.

Norman Waterson was a coach and latterly club president of Wirral Athletics Club in a period of service that spanned over 50 years.

He was an athlete, coach, team manager, committee member, club president and undertook many other roles and is described as a constant source of strength, support and inspiration to the athletes and people that he worked with.

A tribute on the Wirral Athletics Club Facebook page describes how Norman made the transition from athelete to coach.

It says: "Norman has given a lot to the Wirral AC team over the years as an athlete, but he has contributed even more as a coach.

"His cross-country born ability to resist the cold has served him well for over fifty years of dedicatedly standing for hours in the miserable English weather whilst coaching athletes."

Norman began coaching for the first time aged 22 at Wirral Ladies Athletics Club, established by Margret Meikle, along with fellow coaches John Oxton and George Warburton.

Together they assisted the training of the initial fifteen girls and with their support the club grew from there.

Norman was there to help when Wirral Ladies merged with Wirral AC bringing women into the club for the first time in 1964 and has been a strong supporter of ladies’ athletics for his entire life.

Wirral Athletics Club said: "As a coach Norman always gave 110% to the athletes through good times and bad.

"He was the bright smile and light-hearted jokes that made training on a cold winter’s evening that bit more bearable. He was the crutch when your legs cramped and you couldn’t pick yourself up off the floor, the shoulder to cry on, and the driver when you fell asleep in the back of the car on the journey home.

"He organised the sessions, planned you a programme to improve, showed up ahead of time every day and went the extra mile to make sure that you were on track to reach the targets that you set yourself.

"Though he never asked for anything in return, he put his whole heart, soul and being into supporting athletes to new levels of success which they would never have been able to achieve without him."

Norman became the Wirral AC track secretary in 1970 and though wishing to retire in 1978 he was persuaded to keep going and continued the role until 2018.

In 2013 Norman was elected Wirral AC Club President helping to steer the club through difficult times, following the death of dedicated club secretary Leo Carroll in 2016.

At this time, many would credit Norman as being the very glue which held the club together.