BEM couple’s passion for youth sport

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David and Eileen Woodhead have been instrumental in introducing hundreds of children into fell running over the last 32 years.
The couple, from Keighley, have been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the sport.

Not only do they organise races over the Haworth Moors and in Penistone, with more than 200 children regularly attending, they actively encourage them to stay in sport - whatever that might be - and try to make sure every child comes away from a race with a positive memory of it.

The Woodhead’s both became “hooked” on fell running after David left his role as a physical training instructor in the Coldstream Guards. What started as a passion for competing, soon led to organising events and encouraging young people, and the couple jointly held the role of Fell Runners Association (FRA) Junior Fell Coordinator until 2005.

Past runners in the Woodhead’s events, which include the Auld Lang Syne run and Yorkshire Championships, include the Olympic tri-athletes, the Brownlee brothers.

Mrs Woodhead, 54, said: “It’s quite a shock and an honour. We are both still reeling from the fact that doing something we love could lead to an honour like this.”