Farewell Jim; athlete, boxer, and footballer

Playing for The Waders
Playing for The Waders

A well known sportsman of yesteryear has died aged 84.

Jesse James ‘Jimmy’ Heath was born in Islington in 1929. One of 13 children, he and his family were evacuated to Sun Street in Biggleswade after the Battle of Britain in the Second World War.

From 1946 to 1951 Jim represented both Biggleswade Boxing Club, which was run by his father, and the army cadets as a boxer. He participated in many bouts at the old Drill Hall in Shortmead Street.

He even reached the finals of the Eastern Command Championships in Bedford and the semi-finals with the Amateur Boxing Association.

Jim also represented Biggleswade Athletic Club and Biggleswade Army Cadets in athletics, excelling in sprint races up to 440 yards and competing at county level.

Also a footballer, Jim played for the British Junior Army Cadet team in 1946. Whilst undergoing trials for Arsenal in 1948 he was called for National Service, serving in Libya and Greece during the Greek Civil War.

Jim played for Biggleswade Town FC Juniors in 1949 and from 1955 to 1958 he played for The Waders’ senior team, helping them to win the North Beds Charity Cup.

He was awarded his county cap from the Football Association and turned down the chance to play for Watford.

In 1958 Jim married the late Edith West and moved to Ickwell. In 1959 he joined Ickwell and Old Warden FC as a player manager and in the off season he played cricket, firstly for Caldecote and then in the 1960s for Ickwell.

At the age of 60 he competed in the London Marathon.

Jim will be buried in Northill. The date is yet to be decided upon.