Ipswich loses respected international official

Highly regarded Ipswich athletics officials Geoff and Stella Barclay at the Sydney Olympics.

THE life of one of Ipswich’s most respected athletics officials will be celebrated at tomorrow afternoon’s funeral at West Ipswich.

Geoffrey Alexander Barclay will be remembered as a referee and chief judge for throws of the highest calibre.  He was 72.

Geoff and his wife Stella shared in one of the city’s most significant sporting achievements at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

They joined Des Johnston and Trish Kinnane at the Games, playing important roles in a number of athletics functions.

The quartet also officiated together at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in addition to many state and national championships.

“He was a man who was very strong on that everything went by the rules,” Johnston said.

“He was an excellent official.”

Bundamba-based Geoff and Stella regularly travelled together to officiate at major competitions.

Born on September 10, 1943, Geoff moved from Mackay to Ipswich in 1963.

Geoff, a former banker, worked at Ipswich City Council as a team leader for rates/property for many years after joining council in 1973.

Former school teacher Johnston first met the Barclays when their daughter Patricia was on state primary school athletics teams.

He spent more than 15 years with them at a range of competitions from 1997.

At the Sydney Olympics, Geoff was chief judge for throws, responsible for managing all the officials under his control.

“We’re going to miss him because he had a depth of knowledge that was quite significant,” Johnston said.

“He was one step above the national officials here in Australia, the top of the tree in Australia.

“He could officiate as a referee at international meets.

“He was a man who was highly regarded within our officials community and also by the athletes.”

Johnston said the last competition he can remember Geoff officiating at was at last year’s Secondary School championships in Brisbane.

Ipswich and District Athletic Club president Vic Pascoe also coached Geoff and Stella’s daughter Patricia, a talented long jumper and hurdler.  He later saw the tremendous work Geoff did at all levels from grassroots competition to international events.

“He did a fantastic job for the club over the years,” Pascoe said.

Geoff started his work at the Ipswich Little Athletics Centre in the 1980s.  He was centre manager at one stage and was a regular on committees at the Ipswich and District Athletic Club.

“I just thought he was marvellous,” Pascoe said.

“He had a good attitude with all the kids.  It made it worthwhile for the kids to have a go.”

Geoff was involved with national competitions since the early 1990s.

He was appointed a chief judge for throws for the 1992 Brisbane Grand Prix and national championships the following year.

His extensive career also included stints at major competitions like the World Junior Championships (1996) and World Masters Games in 1994.

Geoff and Stella were married at the Sacred Heart Church, Booval, in 1967, continuing their wonderful athletics journey together for the decades that followed.

Geoff’s funeral is 2pm tomorrow at the Len Russell Funeral Chapel at the corner of Brisbane and Clay streets.