Bill Wright, who has passed away at the age of 81 due to cancer, was an extraordinary individual with a diverse range of interests and accomplishments. He was not only a teacher but also a Welsh international race walker, an expert in Spanish language, and an avid supporter of the Nuneaton Borough football club for almost five decades.
Bill was born in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and spent his childhood in south Wales until the age of seven when his family moved to Southampton. In his youth, he had an opportunity to visit Spain, which left a lasting impression on him and inspired him to delve deeper into the country’s culture and language. After completing his education at the Queen Mary College, London, where he focused on studying history and Spanish, he became a teacher. It was during this time that he met Janice Barlow, also a teacher, whom he married and shared a blessed period of 59 years with.
As a teacher, Bill taught business studies and travel and tourism at Hornchurch College in east London before moving to Coventry, where he worked at Henley College for the rest of his career, eventually becoming a senior lecturer and retiring in 1990.
Bill and Janice had two children, Isabel and Alistair, both of whom were born deaf. Bill and his wife were a constant source of support to them and others in the deaf community. In 1992, Bill helped to create the Coventry and Warwickshire sign language interpreting service, one of the earliest initiatives of its kind in the UK.
Aside from his teaching profession and passion for Spanish culture, Bill was a remarkable athlete, becoming the Welsh 10,000 metres champion in 1976. He continued to compete in races well into his 70s and was an influential figure in race walking as a judge, national and regional treasurer, and interpreter for Spanish and Mexican race walking teams. In addition, he coached Andy Penn, a British Olympic competitor from Nuneaton, who acknowledged Bill’s inspiration and guidance as the driver for his success.
Football was another sport that fascinated Bill. Together with his son and other family members, he visited various World Cup and European Championship matches throughout his life, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As a long-time supporter of Nuneaton Borough, a minute’s applause was held in his honour during a game after his death.
Bill leaves a profound legacy of kindness, perseverance, and excellence. He is survived by Janice, their children, and their five grandchildren.