Celebrating 50 years: 1965 - 2015
Ashford Athletic Club was formed on 24th March 1965 after two Ashford public schools’ physical education teachers realised that they had a number of talented youngsters attending the schools who required extra athletics training that the schools could not provide. The club’s first training night on 13th April 1965 was attended by more than 23 people at the South Secondary Girls' School.
In the first year the club won county medals in discus and 4 man relay and won three inter-club Kent meetings. By the end of 1970 the club membership consisted of 103 boys and 43 girls and by 1980 the club was regularly winning county and national medals.
At this time club training was held in the grounds of the Stour Center but it was realised that proper track facilities were desperately needed. There were no track facilities in Kent, the nearest facility with competition type surfaces being at Crystal Palace in London which was already overused. In September 1979 talks began with the council to see how more athletics facilities in the Ashford area could be provided.
The first Julie Rose 10k Memorial Road Race took place in 1986 and the race was started by Steve Cram. The race attracted more than 2000 entries and has taken place yearly ever since. Funding for the Julie Rose Stadium came from the proceeds of the 10k races, Ashford Borough Council and the National Lottery.
The Julie Rose Stadium is named in memory of a local middle-distance runner, Julie Rose, who was killed in an air crash in November 1985. Sadly, Clliff Temple (Julie Rose’s coach and Chairman of the Julie Rose Memorial Fund) suddenly died in 1994, just as the location and construction plans for the stadium were finalised.
Stadium construction started in 1995 and Ashford Athletic Club eventually moved to their new facilities in March 1997. In the first year after moving to the stadium, membership rose to over 300 and has flourished ever since and has enjoyed success at all levels from Sportshall Athletics through to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Some of the original members and coaches of the club are still involved: Ted Hawkins (Ted is the only remaining active founder member) Muriel Seamon who is President; Dave Fox who won medals at the age of 16 for the club , and athletes Jenny Brown, Jennie Matthews and Jacqi Snare.
The club is one of only three Kent clubs to have achieved Sport England Clubmark accreditation that rewards clubs for providing a high standard of care for its members.
The original Club colours consisted of a gold vest with twin diagonal black stripes. The vest colour has not changed, but there is now a single vertical stripe from front left shoulder to waist with black shorts.
The Julie Rose Stadium offers an internatonal standard 400m all weather running track, long jump, high jump, pole vault, hurdles, hammer, discus and shot put, indoor training area, 60m sprint track, long jump and an indoor netted throws cage. The site also has a gym, and Pod+ (an injury clinic and sports shop). The stadium is 2 miles from Ashford International station on the outskirts of Ashford. Please go to our contact page for instructions on how to find the stadium.