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By an unfortunate coincidence, all the executive posts in the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) expired at the 2002 AGM and led to retirement of most of the old guard. Since 1992 all the donkey work for the Association had been performed by John Clegg, a retired dentist, who since then had thrown himself into the role of Honorary Secretary of the Association.
Following schooling in Bolton he had graduated from Liverpool University in Dentistry in 1959 and spent some time in the Facio-Maxillary Unit at Broadgreen Hospital before entering General practice in St Helens. Sport had always been a major part of his life and as well as playing golf, cricket, and rugby union adequately, he was good enough at tennis to have played Tony Pickard in the Semi-Finals of the Lancashire Junior Championships. In the red hot rugby league town of St Helens he switched codes as a spectator, then became the club dentist and wrote the first published paper on mouth protection in rugby some forty years ago.
His involvement with St Helens grew to such an extent that in the early 1980s he became Chairman of the Club for three years, leading them to Wembley successes and being instrumental in bringing no less a player than Mal Meninga to the Club. For many, retirement in their late 40s as a result of a chronic back problem, would have been the signal to slow down. John however went on one of the BASEM General Courses at Loughborough in 1977 and joined the Association. He was co-opted onto the Executive to organise the 1991 Congress at Windermere, and did so with such success that following a relatively bloodless coup he became the Honorary Secretary soon after. Since that day, quite voluntarily, he has given up at least a day per week to ensure that the Association runs smoothly, and took the Congress back to the Low Wood Hotel in 2002 for his swan song and one of the most academically enlightening congresses that the Association has seen.
To make sure that he was up to the job he obtained an Economics Degree from the Open University five years ago in and has mixed his BASEM tasks with a seat on the Bench in St Helens since 1974, Chairing the Governers of Cowley High School in St Helens for the past eight years, Chairing the St Helens Round Tablers and now acting as the North West representative on the National Council of the 41 Club.
For all his voluntary work it was most fitting that BASEM made him a Life Member at the 2002 AGM, and lucky is any organisation that now gains his massive administration skills. It says much for the man that in order to replace him BASEM is looking to open a staffed office. The Executive is poorer still for the loss of Donald MacLeod and Harry Thomason, both of whom have a long record of service for the Association, and whose expertise will be sorely missed.
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