Ray Scovell, one of the best known figures in the Isle of Wight sporting world, has died of Covid.

Ray, 76, died yesterday after a ten-day battle with the virus.

He had been taken to hospital with non Covid-related illness, but it was found he had the virus and he deteriorated to the point St Mary's Hospital turned off life support yesterday (Tuesday).

Ray was best known for his work in athletics, teaching himself field event coaching and guiding Islander Andy Frost to the Commonwealth Games and shaping the early career of Scottish international Islander Nick Percy.

He was the community development officer for the IW Council Sports Unit and got thousands of Islanders turning up on Saturday mornings for the Medina parkrun before introducing junior parkrun.

Read more: Profile of Ray Scovell, inspirational sports coach

He leaves his wife, Rosemary, his daughter, Claire Apsey, and his grandson, Simon Apsey, who Claire described as the apple of Ray's eye.

Claire described him as an inspirational man who lived for his sport and his community in Sandown where he had lived for much of his life after being born in Northwood.

He served in the Royal Navy before working at Temperature in Lake and as a milkman before joining the Sports Unit.

As a result of his coaching achievements, Ray won numerous awards — most notably the 2017 Isle of Wight Sports Achievement Awards for service to sports on the Isle of Wight.
Claire said: "He loved his work with the IW Sports Unit and was still helping out with coaching there last year."

Susie Sheldon, Isle of Wight Lord Lieutenant and a trustee of the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation, said "I feel privileged to have known Ray Scovell and he will be sadly missed in Island athletics and indeed in the wider community.

"So many people will have been influenced by him in their athletics careers and even those who have never been serious athletes will have happy memories of his influence. "He always remained modest and retiring, determinedly staying out of the limelight.

"The Island was lucky to have him."
John Hepworth, joint event director for Medina parkrun, said: "All of the parkrun community is devastated by Ray's death.  
"It is no exaggeration at all to say that parkrun would not have started, or have continued, on the Island had it not been for Ray's persistence and enthusiasm.  
"We have so much to thank him for.  

"We have a yearly 'Ray's Run' to celebrate his achievement and this will have such poignancy from now on."