Bexhill resident, former Olympian and member of the elite Parachute Regiment, Peter Allday died peacefully at home on March 10, 2018 aged 90.
Born on June 27, 1927, Peter moved to Bexhill as a small boy spending many happy hours adventuring on the beach, climbing rocks and building dams. His wife, Elizabeth says these early experiences made a big impact on her husband and paid tribute to him and his fascinating life. She said: “The flight path of those thrilling early aeroplanes was right over their house and soon Peter knew the names of every one, a passion which lasted all his life.
“When war broke out he was evacuated to Ware in Hertfordshire only to be bombed out of his digs, blown by the blast right across the room.
“Later, still in short trousers at 14 years of age, he was sent to work in the machine shop of a factory doing war work where he eagerly learned all he could about engineering, leading eventually to his career as an aircraft engineering inspector.
“As soon as Peter was old enough he joined the Parachute Regiment (the airborne infantry regiment of the British Army) jumping out of planes and loving it!”
“Posted to Palestine after the war he somehow got hold of a Hammer which started his athletics career, practising throwing the Hammer in the heat of the day when the other chaps were sleeping!
“Later in the Royal Fusiliers, he was posted to Germany where he was lucky enough to be coached in Hammer by Christian Bosch, the 1936 German Coach.
“Deciding a career in the regular Army was not for him, Peter bought himself out and returned to England where he immediately got himself a motor bike, contacted the Hammer fraternity, and got a job as an aircraft engineering inspector at Hawker Aircraft limited. He never was one to waste time!
“In 1952 he became a founder member of the Hammer Circle Association. An outstanding athlete he became one of the great UK Hammer throwers, in spite of his relatively small stature. He was a finalist in the 1952 Olympics. In the 1956 Olympics he was 9th in the world and came 3rd in the Commonwealth Games. When the Highland Games came to England in 1955 and 1958 he twice won the 28lb Hammer competition.
“Becoming very lame with arthritis, Peter took a clock training course for the disabled, gaining a distinction in antique clocks in only six months. That’s half the usual time it takes to train - trust him!”
During this time Peter married his first wife, a fellow athlete and they had twins. Sadly the marriage wasn’t to last.
Peter turned to cycling to combat his arthritis and in 1983 he met Elizabeth. She said: “Of course Peter didn’t sit back and relax! He now started making and sailing model boats, winning prizes year after year at the Plumpton Model Show.
“Then he started building and flying model planes, turning up day after day at the flying field in his mobility buggy. “When that got too much for him he found interesting things to do at home, always filling up those 90 years.
“What a busy and active life he lead. So that’s my Peter for you. He really filled his 90 years, didn’t he? And I had 35 busy, happy and wonderful years with him. Wasn’t I lucky!”