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ACHILLES HISTORY

The Achilles Amateur Athletic Association was formed in 1936, the brain child of the late W.S.S. (Bill) Basson.


To turn his Dream into a reality, he roped in the services of Ronnie Allison, Claude Dalton and Bob Ellis. Only they know how much time was spent in deciding on a name, drawing up a draft constitution, deciding on colours, designing a badge, etc. The elegant badge which was decided on was the work of Claude Dalton.


It was also decided to use the word Association instead of Club as the idea was to have an athletic section, a cycling section and a social section. The latter was soon abandoned and the sporting side was concentrated on.


As many as possible contemporary school athletes were contacted in the hope of their joining Achilles. The response was most encouraging and eventually in July 1936 an inaugural meeting was held in the then only available room at the Oval. At this meeting a committee was elected and Mr S.F. Edwards was asked to be Chairman and a year later Mr E.J.G (Mick) Lawler was asked to be President. How well these two gentlemen served Achilles. Mr Lawler held the position until his death in 1965 and Mr Edwards was elected President a position he held until 1994. The club has always prided itself in the stability of its committee and leadership and has only had 7 chairmen in the 63 years of its existence.


The first time Achilles members competed was in the open events at the Hirsch Shield meeting. By the time the Somerset East meeting was held a few weeks later our vests and track suits had arrived and certainly caught the eye, not the least those of the fair sex!


Apart from the founders, sportsmen of the calibre of Edgar England, Doug Hollis, Dudley Nicholson, Doug Skinner, George Smith, Gof Wilson and later Denis Biden, Howard Kirkby, Roy Noble and may others saw to it that Achilles was always to the fore and maintained the proud tradition of our motto, Ludum Lude - Play the Game.


During this period there were only two cycling members, Steve and Eddie Matthews. Shortly before World War II these two members won all six Eastern Province Titles, Steve won five and Eddie won with Steve second. When they retired it was decided to abandon the cycling section.


When war broke out in 1939 Achilles members rose to the occasion and by the beginning of the 1940 - 41 season there was hardly a member left so activities were suspended. When hostilities ceased some of the above mentioned got Achilles going again and then left it to the younger members. To mention prominent members since 1946 would take too much space, but, suffice it to say that the following earned Springbok colours: Harold Clark, Malcolm Spence, David Tee, Joe Truter, John Veitch, Neil Macdonald and Tinkie Heyns. Mr Lawler was awarded his South African Honours for Service colours.

Join the club now and enjoy a healthier life

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