ATHLETICS: THE future of English athletics is being shaped by two men with Vale Royal connections.
One happens to be the father of the country's most famous runner and the other is the man who steered her into athletics in the first place.
Paula Radcliffe's dad Peter will chair England Athletics 2005, an interim organisation which will establish the new governing body which will take over in 2006.
And Frodsham's George Bunner will continue to run the England AAA as chairman.
Radcliffe and his wife Pat, who taught at primary schools at Runcorn and Kingsley, lived with their young family at Barnton before moving to Kingsley and then heading south about 20 years ago.
By then Paula had been bitten by the athletics bug after attending Frod-sham Harriers sessions run by Bunner, the club's founder.
He went on to launch two successful companies in Northwich, one being Sportshall Athletics - not just a business but a sport in itself which has spread worldwide and been adopted by the IAAF.
Schools in different continents have even competed against each over the internet. And it is Bunner's receptiveness to new ideas that will help athletics make the transition.
'This is not the break up of the sport, but its modernisation,' he said. 'After being around and virtually untouched for 120 years it does need bringing up to date.
'I think we have a damn good team. Peter has got the sport at heart. He is intelligent, held top positions in industry and is chairman of Paula's club Bedford County.
'I admire Peter and Pat. Whenever I have been asked about Paula I have said her best assets were her parents.'
Sport England, which distributes Lottery funding, demanded the sport make radical changes to its structure, which is what Radcliffe will oversee.
Bunner added: 'My job is to keep the AAA stable during the transition. Athletics administration is antiquated with a lot of duplication of jobs and effort. There is a lack of accountability which is just not acceptable, but the changes can't be done in a few seconds.'