Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

TED FOSBROOK (February 2015)

Ted Fosbrook died at around 5.00 am on the 31st of January a short time before his 90th birthday.
I will never forget Ted. It was due to him that I joined the club on 3rd February 1958 but found it was all too daunting, after my running at school and left after a few months.
Towards the end of 1964, I was out doing some sprints on the extension of Hampstead Heath, near my home and who should come running by with a bunch of young athletes, but Ted Fosbrook. He immediately turned to me with his typical infectious enthusiasm and said ‘Come down the club and join Highgate!’ I did that and the rest is history. What I would say is that he was Press Secretary of the club before me and had been able to get Highgate cross-country events on Southern BBC television, in the 1950’s, which simply could not happen nowadays, where next to no publicity is given to that. He was also, at one time, Highgate’s representative on the Camden Sports Council.
     Ted advised or coached athletes until the last few years of his life and helped, amongst others, Roy Hollingsworth who later became AAA’s discus Champion in 1964.

Martin Howard, a senior official and recently President of the ECCU, points out “I too was invited to join Highgate by Ted Fosbrook back in 1956. I came to the track in the hope off running off a bad football injury. Ted coached a great group of junior athletes. Ted asked me to join them and I was made so welcome that I never thought of returning to football. Several current members were brought into the club by Ted. As well as Alastair, they include Jack Bayliss and Terry Driscoll”
Terry Driscoll, twice President of Highgate Harriers remarked "Ted was my first coach when I joined in 1957, and he was the mainstay for the club for many years."          

Ted had a full and colourful life. At 16, he joined the Merchant Navy and was in the Royal Navy in the Second World War and was nearly torpedoed several times. It was in the Navy he learnt to box and had as many as three fights in one evening. The fact that he did that helped him in life’s battles.
It was in the 1950’s - early 60’s he was in a small flat near Parliament Hill that when he did his tailoring and his devoted wife Pam, did hairdressing. Ted worked hard and ended up being a noted designer and teacher of fashion. Eventually he and his family lived in a large house in Highgate Village . He was determined to give his children a good education, which he was not able to have and his three children Edward, Deborah and Edmund are all successful.
I would like to point out something interesting said by Martin Howard “I was apprenticed but with typical generosity he made my wedding suit. The best suit I ever owned.”

He has 9 Grand Children and his daughter Deborah’s three sons all ran for Highgate Harriers. They are William, George and Peter Laing.
Ted Fosbrook was a fascinating character with plenty of stories I could relate, but suffice to say, when I saw him in hospital a week or so before he left us, he said,

“I have had a good life,” What more could one add to that.

Alastair Aitken

Richard Cox, of Highgate Harriers who was a rival of mine in the 1960’s and a friend, wrote about those days and when I first joined Highgate Harriers in 1958.
Richard said "I was of course a member of the gang coached by Ted from Sept 1955 which included Jack Bayliss and Terry Pereira and Brian Travis. Jack and I used to go to the track on a Sunday morning after Boys Brigade bible class and Ted was quick to sign us up. Had he not done so the club would not have had Terry Driscoll since Terry was introduced by me a couple of years later, he lived nearby and was a school friend.

I remember very well you coming to the track one Saturday afternoon you seemed to be full of self doubt and I recall you were recovering from a family problem re your father I think" (That was correct as my Father Colonel David Aitken died in 1957).

Richard continued with a very good comment "I remember part of Ted's training routine involved us sawing and chopping fallen trees ... he actually brought us axes from home and also got us lifting weights ...... he was very interested in the teachings of Franz Stampfl and Percy Cerruty".

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