Simpson’s love affair with sport

David Simpson

David Simpson

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A Lifetime dedicated to sport was recognised this year when David Simpson was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award at the prestigious Preston Sports Awards.

The former schoolteacher has been involved in sport on a personal level throughout his life.

But perhaps more importantly, he has been a leader in organising sporting events for children of Preston over the past half-century.

Even though he has long since retired from teaching and is fast approaching his mid-70s, Simpson is still actively involved in engaging youngsters in the delights of sport.

Every year, he organises the Preston cross-country competition for primary school -aged children at Moor Park – something which he has done for the past 20-plus years.

And pupils at his old school Fulwood St Peter’s still benefit from his expertise and experience as he attends the school regularly to hold practice sessions in a variety of sports.

He said: “Many children are very keen to particpate and compete in sport. They love the thrill of being picked in a team.

“I just try to encourage them as best as I can.”

Simpson admits it came as a great surprise to win the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was first won by a certain Sir Tom Finney.

“It was a surprise, but a lovely surprise,” Simpson conceded.

“When you think about the people who have won it in the past – it’s a great award to win.

“You always think that there must be better people out there for the award than you.

“It’s good that people think about you for such an award.

“That they consider you worthy of being nominated for it and actually going to the length of writing in.

“It’s lovely that people recognise you for the work that you do, although, of course, you don’t do it to gain recognition. I do what I do because I like to keep busy, and I just love sport.

“I retired from teaching in 2001 and started doing a bit of supply work.

“But I just started doing an afternoon at St Peter’s and I try to organise teams for the children and enter competitions.”

As well as his continuing school work, Simpson is also still heavily involved in the scouting movement and has been a leader at 1st Broughton Scouts since 1960.

At his height, he progressed to become the assistant district commissioner in Lancashire and once organised a jamboree to Australia in 1989.

“I look after 40 boys at 1st Broughton – I’m a cub scout leader,” Simpson said.

“I was awarded the Silver Acorn last year, which is the highest award in scouting.

“That was another lovely presentation at the Guild Hall in Preston.

“They got me on the stage at the front and told everyone about me.

“When I left the stage, the audience all stood up and applauded, which was very pleasing and quite moving for me.”

On a personal level, Simpson played football for Broughton Amateurs for nearly 30 years.

After hanging up his football boots in his 40s, he switched to marathon running and joined Preston Harriers, where he completed the London Marathon on four occasions – boasting a highly impressive personal best time of three hours and 16 minutes.

He has also enjoyed doing fell running and triathlons, but now just confines his weekly activity to cycling and walking.

“I love sport. The thrill of keeping fit and the pleasure you get out of feeling fit is just great,” said Simpson who has two daughters Judith and Beth and two grandchildren Tom and Lucy.