A MUCH-LOVED sports coach who died in a Stratford motorbike crash in June last year has been handed a posthumous award for his work and commitment to coaching youngsters.
Jonathan ‘Jo’ Walker, 42 and from Catherine de Barnes, died after his motorbike was in a crash with a car near the Rybrook Mini Garage on the A3400 Stratford Road on Sunday, June 14 last year.
Sport fanatic Jo, who ‘lived life to the full and on the edge’ had close associations with three schools – Bishop Wilson C of E Primary in Solihull and Kineton and Bidford primary schools near Stratford.
As well as emotional tributes from his family in the wake of his tragic death, there were also masses of tributes to Jo from the pupils he taught and inspired.
An annual football tournament has even been created at Kineton School in his honour and bearing his name.
And now the much-loved biker, sports coach, skydiver and all round daredevil has had his dedication to sport for youngsters honoured with the Special Recognition for Sport in Schools Award at the annual Stratford-on-Avon District Sports Awards.
Jo’s mum and dad – Robert and Carole – were special guests at the awards ceremony at the Stratford Manor Hotel on Friday night where they accepted the recognition on behalf of their beloved son.
Speaking to The Observer this week mum Carole said: “We are, as you can imagine, still devastated by Jo’s death, but we are delighted and so very proud he has been handed this award in recognition of his dedication to his job and the wonderful work he has done coaching youngsters in Solihull and Stratford.
“He would be delighted to have been honoured in this way.”
Carole said although Jo died early, he packed 90 years of living into his 42 years on the planet.
“He always lived life to the full and loved thrill-seeking things,” she added.
“His dad found a bucket list after he died and the next thing on that list was basejumping – he loved that kind of thing.
“I always hated him riding his motorbike on the roads, but he said he loved it so much and if that was how he had to go, then so be it.”
Jo was one of four Walker brothers – being survived by siblings Mark, Adam and Nick – and a clan of ten grandchildren.
Margaret Pollard, Head of Kineton Primary School where Jo taught for several years, said: “Jo was a very eager sportsman, keen to share his passion with both children and staff.
“He ran a range of very popular after-school sport clubs and was particularly focused on developing girls’ football.
“Jo’s enthusiasm and twinkly smile touched everyone he met and he is sorely missed.
“His legacy lives on as football continues to be popular at the school and plans are once again in place for the ‘Jo Walker Memorial Tournament’, in which every child in school has the chance to participate in football, the sport Jo loved.”