Northern Navigators Orienteering Club

formerly Lanchester Orienteers

previously Browney Waders

established 1969

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Page last updated 28th December

Norman Harris (RIP) 1940 - 2015

Sports writer and ex-NN member dies aged 75 - a report by Rob McKenna, 27th December 2015



I was surprised and saddened to hear the news that Norman had died on 20th November 2015. After visiting friends in Richmond, London, enjoying a swim, a cinema visit and a meal at a restaurant, he suffered a heart attack and died later in hospital. The funeral service was held at Mortlake Crematorium on 18th December, followed by a wake at the Bank of England Club off Priory Lane, Roehampton.


Norman was born on January 24, 1940, at Te Kowhai, Ngaruawahia, outside Hamilton in the Waikato, New Zealand but migrated to the south of England in 1965. He moved to the North East about 15 years ago and settled in the Allen valley, about 10km SW of Hexham. His interest in Northern Navigators started around 2002/3 and he soon got involved with the committee and the running of the club, drawing on his vast experience as a long time member of Southern Navigators and chairmanship of the South East Orienteering Association.


Before he joined our club, Norman was a prolific orienteer in his early days with other clubs, notably achieving the M45 British Champion title in 1985.

In the picure shown on the right, taken at Burnbanks CSC match on 20.3.03, Norman is third from the left in the NN line up, wearing a blue top. Aside from his team involvement and individual performances, he is probably better known at the club for his help in developing and planning events at Langley Woods - a new area for the club, not far from where he lived. A friendly disposition and local knowledge were key components in his approach.


Outside of the club he had a very interesting and varied life - a prolific sports writer for various well know newspapers, notably The Sunday Times, as well as the author of various books. There are many obituaries on the web that extol his prowess and notariety in this field. Whilst in the North East, he covered many of the Durham County and International cricket matches, but the love of his home country would often draw him back to New Zealand at least once a year.


He is claimed to be the person responsible for the popularising of the term 'jogger' and there is an interesting Radio New Zealand interview, titled 'Jogging and other sports', aired on 24th June 2013, which can be heard following this link, in which he explains how this came about. In 1978 he was one of the main organisers for the first Sunday Times National 'fun run' in Hyde Park - now a major event.


He was an avid member of Allendale Golf Club and his keen eye for words and images drew him to the Allendale Film Club, he was also very intersted in music.


I can't claim to have been a close friend of Norman but here are a few links to other obituaries:

   The Guardian

   Sports Journalist Association

   The Sunday Times


   NZ Edge

   OZ Typewriter