Aston University staff mourned the passing away of a loyal and much loved former colleague on Friday 18 May when members of Sport Aston and other colleagues attended the funeral of Paul Bloodworth at Redditch Crematorium.
Paul who was 63 had fought a courageous battle against cancer having being diagnosed in December 2011. He leaves his wife, Yvonne, two daughters Sarah and Lucy and grand-daughter, Olivia.
Paul joined the University as a Sports Assistant in 1974 and retired in December 2008. He spent his entire university career working for what was then the Physical Recreation Department (now Sport Aston) and during this time he was promoted on a number of occasions, his final post being Facilities Operations Manager. Paul was also Acting Head of Department for two lengthy periods.
Paul loved sport and always said that he was lucky to work at something that was also his hobby. He was a wonderful all round sportsman who played a number of sports at a high standard. He was an apprentice for three seasons at Coventry City and then played semi-professional football in leagues around the West Midlands for many years. He was also a fine Cricketer, an attacking wicket-keeper batsman who thrived on the challenge of standing up to the stumps to the quicker bowlers. Paul also played Squash and Basketball to a high standard and he also became a very proficient golfer.
Paul loved organising student and staff sport and for many years he personally ran and officiated the Hybart Sports Trophy which was an inter-departmental competition for students and staff at Aston. He provided sport for many student sports teams and encouraged students to join external leagues outside the university to gain wider experience.
One of Paul’s many great achievements in sport came in 1976 when he was coach to the Aston University Football team that won the Universities Athletic Union Championship beating Durham University 2-0 in the final played at Highfield Road. This is the sporting equivalent of Wimbledon winning the FA Cup in 1988. It is a testimony to Paul that many of the players from 1976 (a team’s worth were at his funeral on Friday. One had travelled overnight from America and all lined up at the entrance. Professor Cliff Bailey of LHS commented: “Paul’s role in developing the footballing successes at Aston, especially the 1976 achievement is a great tribute to his commitment and capability. He was highly respected and very much in charge even though he was only a couple of years older than many of the team members themselves. The emails of the past few days are full of such comments as true gent, really genuine person, great guy, plus a postscript that Paul was very much a modest unsung hero of the mission and the spirit of Aston University.”
For the staff of Sport Aston and for me personally, he was simply the best! We will miss him dreadfully.
Words by Mike Kirkman
28 May 2012