Borders sport has lost one of its biggest characters with the untimely death of Special Olympics team manager Jed Renilson on Tuesday.
Having bravely fought cancer for almost eight years, the 55-year-old from Jedburgh lost his battle earlier this week.
One of the key instigators of the Borders Disability Sports Group, which is going really strong, Jed’s involvement in disability sport in the region will be sorely missed, as will his ‘larger than life’ persona and wicked sense of humour.
Former chair of the Disability Sports Group David Laing paid tribute to his old friend, and often sparring partner.
“I worked closely with Jed for a number of years and the news of his death is very sad indeed,” he said.
“He was very special man indeed who initially gave up much of his time as a volunteer to nurture and develop athletes with a learning disability.
“His work with Special Olympics athletes was second to none and many of them went on excel in the international arena. He was held in extremely high esteem by Special Olympics GB and, when called upon, Jed would also assist athletes with physical and sensory disabilities and was well respected for his effort there.
“Part of Jed’s success story was that in his own inimitable way he was a charismatic and stubborn man that most people found difficulty in saying no to.”
One of those such people was multiple Paralympic medallist Dame Tanni-Grey Thomson who became firm friends with Jed after he persuaded her to become involved in the Jedburgh 10k Wheelchair Race.
“Jed has left the Borders with a legacy of success in disability sport which is still evident today,” added Mr Laing.
“The Scottish Championship Wheelchair 10K Race is held annually and it was Jed who was instrumental in building this up through his friendship with Tanni and her husband Ian. Rest in Peace Jed and my condolences go out to your family and close friends.”
Jed’s funeral service will be held in Jedburgh Old & Trinity Parish Church on Thursday, November 5 at 11.00am with interment in Castlewood Cemetery at 12 noon to which all family and friends are invited. Tartan to be worn at Jed’s own request.
A full appreciation outlining the lifelong work of Jed Renilson will appear in next week’s Southern Reporter.