Great Britain’s greatest-ever paralympian The Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has paid tribute to Borderer Jed Renilson after the loss of what she termed “an amazing man”.
Renilson, who died last week aged 55 after a near ten-year battle with cancer and whose funeral takes place in Jedburgh today, was considered a legendary figure locally for his work with disability sport, but his fame travelled far according to Grey-Thompson.
Typically, the 11-times Paralympics gold medallist became a friend when Jed first offered her and husband, also a disabled racer, a bed for the night in order to compete in the Jedburgh 10K Road Race, which from its launch in 2004 Jed built into one of the most popular wheelchair races in the UK.
Now Baroness Grey-Thompson, a key figure in the worldwide Paralympics movement, television presenter, parliamentarian and coach, she said: “Jed was an amazing man. He was kind, generous, warm, funny and he opened his home to us.
“He treated us like part of his family. He was the sort of man that if you rang and needed his help he would do everything in his power to help you.
“He seemed to know everyone. I lost count of the number of times I met someone somewhere around the world from the Borders and they would ask whether I knew Jed.
“He was passionate about disability sport and the 10K was always such a good event to come to. We used to joke about it being my perfect 10K – downhill start and finishing at a tearoom!”
Tanni’s husband, Dr Ian Thompson, and daughter Carys became close friends of Jed’s. Ian added: “I first came to Jedburgh in 2005, and we have been up to most of the races since because of Jed, the hospitality we receive and the quality of the event.
“I had a really good time when I came up to see Jed and we quite often stayed at his house the night before and went out for dinner. He loved to hear about what we were doing and we would talk about all the other activities he had been involved with in disability sport development over the years, always over a few beers and a good meal.
“Jed had a really good sense of humour, and we shared a lot of jokes and stories and experiences of people we had come across.
“He worked very hard for sport – harder than most people would ever have seen – and for young people and for the Jedburgh and Borders community that he loved with a passion. Jed will be a very sad loss I know in the Borders but also to many, many of us scattered across the world.”
Turn to page ?? for Jed Renilson appreciation.