Tributes to teacher who spotted Sheffield sporting hero Seb’s talents

Sebastian Coe picture from Running Free Book.
Sebastian Coe picture from Running Free Book.
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A POPULAR Sheffield teacher who helped Seb Coe take his first steps on the road to super-stardom has died.

David Tomlinson, from Totley, died suddenly at East Midlands Airport while waiting for a holiday flight to Italy.

He was 71 and leaves a wife Gill and son Richard.

A life member of the Sheffield Federation for School Sports, he taught at Hinde House and Waltheof schools.

During the late 1960s David served as secretary of the federation’s cross-country section, organising Saturday morning events across the city until 1991.

It was during that time Seb Coe, a Tapton School boy, first began to catch the eye.

So did David – a perfectionist when it came to staging events, sorting on-the-day problems, and meticulously providing the best results service in the business.

Peter Markie, who covered school sport for The Star and Green ’Un at the time, recalls: “Sheffield was blessed over that period with a generation of teachers who provided the best possible environment for boys and girls.

“David was in a class of his own because of his dedication, sense of fair play and determination to provide the best for Sheffielders.

“David was always mindful of talent and was among the first to spot the potential of Seb who was being coached by his father Peter.

“There was always a special buzz as the Tapton tot swept through the field at Graves Park.

“Like so many of us, David remained a fan and followed all Seb’s subsequent world records and Olympic golds.

“I still don’t know how David managed to provide a complete results service by hand, with no computers in those days, amid all the bluster and chaos surrounding those muddy morning events, always in a gale, pouring rain or worse!”

The funeral service will take place at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium in Beauchief next Thursday, October 18, at 3.30pm.