September 7th, 2016

Posthumous award for inspiring sports coach Jo

Updated: 3:24 pm, Jan 31, 2016

A MUCH-LOVED sports coach killed in a motorbike crash in Stratford has been handed a posthumous award for his work and commitment to coaching youngsters.

Jonathan ‘Jo’ Walker died after his motorbike was involved in crash with a car near the Rybrook Mini Garage on the A3400 Stratford Road in June last year.

The 42 year-old worked with pupils at both Kineton and Bidford primary schools.

As well as emotional tributes from his family in the wake of his tragic death, there were also masses of tributes to Jo from the pupils he taught and inspired.

An annual football tournament has even been created at Kineton School in his honour and bearing his name.

And now Jo has had his dedication to sport for youngsters honoured with the Special Recognition for Sport in Schools Award at the annual Stratford Sports Awards.

Jo’s mum and dad – Robert and Carole – were special guests at the awards ceremony at the Stratford Manor Hotel where they accepted the recognition on behalf of their son.

Speaking to The Observer this week Carole said: “We are, as you can imagine, still devastated by Jo’s death, but we are delighted and so very proud he has been handed this award in recognition of his dedication to his job and the wonderful work he has done coaching youngsters in Solihull and Stratford.

“He would be delighted to have been honoured in this way.”

“He always lived life to the full and loved thrill-seeking things.”

“His dad found a bucket list after he died and the next thing on that lost was basejumping – he loved that kind of thing.

“I always hated him riding his motorbike on the roads, but he said he loved it so much and if that was how he had to go, then so be it.”

Margaret Pollard, head of Kineton Primary School where Jo taught for several years, said: “Jo was a very eager sportsman, keen to share his passion with both children and staff.

“He ran a range of very popular after-schools sports clubs and was particularly focused on developing girls’ football.

“Jo’s enthusiasm and twinkly smile touched everyone he met and he is sorely missed.

“His legacy lives on as football continues to be popular at the school and plans are once again in place for the ‘Jo Walker Memorial Tournament’, in which every child in school has the chance to participate in football, the sport Jo loved.”

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