PROUD family and friends today spoke of the amazing achievements of a former Olympian who devoted his life to athletics.

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Stan Cox

Stan took part in the famous England v Germany match at Cologne in 1939 and won a bronze medal showing the Union flag and Nazi swastika.

War interrupted his career with postings to Iraq, Iran and Palestine. He trained by running laps round a tennis court.

In 1948 Stan was the British six-mile (10,000 metres) champion, clocking up a time of around 29 minutes.

At the London Olympics in 1948 he finished seventh in the 10,000 metres – though commentators still believe he actually ran an extra lap by mistake after missing the bell.

He was unable to take part in the 1950 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand after his employers made it clear he would lose his job if he went.

Stan Cox, of Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe, was one of the last survivors of Britain’s team from the 1948 London games and had been invited to attend this summer’s big event, and given tickets to the Olympic Stadium to see some of the athletics.

Friends had been arranging a front row seat for the 93-year-old former marathon man to see the Olympic torch when it is paraded through Felixstowe next Thursday, and it had been hoped Stan would be able to hold one of the torches at a Town Hall reception for torchbearers.

But failing health had dogged the retired long distance runner for the past year, and he died in Felixstowe Community Hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning – exactly a month before the official opening ceremony of the Games.

His grandson Matt Broekstra said: “He had a wonderful life and will missed by us all. It was such a shame he couldn’t hang on to see the Olympics.”

Friends and family said today he had a zest for life, and even into his 90s still led health walks in Felixstowe, his home for the past 33 years, and could be seen daily out walking around the resort.

His daughter Delphine Broekstra said: “Athletics was his life. He so much wanted to see the Olympic torch and had really been looking forward to it coming to Felixstowe. He almost made it but not quite.

“We are all really proud of what he achieved and he ran at a time when I always think people did it for their country, a time before money was involved.”

Stan competed in the 10,000m in 1948, when he was the British six-mile champion.

In an interview last year he said he could still clearly remember the event and the amazing atmosphere and was eager to see what the modern games would be like.

“I had to take a day off work, unpaid, or a day’s holiday, to take part in my race – and then it was back to work the next day!” he said.

Mr Cox also took part in the 1952 Helsinki Games, running in the marathon.

At that time he was one of the top two marathon runners in the world but collapsed with a health problem after 22 miles of the 26-mile race.

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