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19th July 2009: Keith Downing awarded the Bill Stevens Trophy

When we formed SMOC in 1987 most of us had only competed in one or two events and therefore the experience of Roger Cole, Stan Holroyd and Keith Downing was essential. Keith became our first secretary, edited the newsletter (and wrote most of it).

We learned that Keith had orienteered since 1967 as a school boy using photocopied ordnance survey maps on which he failed to copy his course, but still managed to come third by following. Most of us don't follow that well! Keith obviously had a spirit of adventure as he went on to orienteer across England, and by the time SMOC had formed, across Europe. I can remember being very impressed that somebody should travel all the way to Estonia to get lost in a forest.

From memory and a skim through old SMOC Signals, as well as being secretary and newsletter editor, Keith has been our club chairman as well as organising and planning more club O events than I could account for, most noticeably planning the 2006 British Sprint Orienteering Championship. He was on the earliest mapping groups, helped organise and participated in the first Greensand team for the Club. He has encouraged lesser orienteers to spread their wings and go to the Scottish 6 day, Keith has always been willing to step into the breach and has the honour of being the only person to have been SMOC's chair more than once.

Keith has just been awarded the Bill Stevens Trophy. This is given each year to somebody deemed to have made a significant contribution to the East Anglian Orienteering Association. Keith's contribution goes back 21 years to when he became SMOC's first representative on the EAOA committee. With just a short break he has continued to do this task and contribute to EAOA ever since, in particular as Secretary for 6 years until he stood down at the AGM this year. However, his contribution has gone far beyond this. As well as organising and planning SMOC events, Keith has been a very reliable and prolific controller in the region.

Congratulations, Keith, on being awarded the trophy.

Written by Rachel Thomas and Colin Nicholson (SMOC)

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