Weightlifting family mourns death of leading British official
Friday, 08 July 2011
July 8 - Walter Holland, the former top weightlifting official who devoted decades of his life to helping run the sport across the world as well as in Britain, has died in Oxford, at the age of 93.
Known by many as Wally, he received his OBE for services to weightlifting - rarely has that honour been more deserved - and was made a member of the Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1995.
He was British Olympic team manager for 24 years from 1968, as well as honorary secretary of the British Amateur Weightlifters' Association from 1965 to 1999.
His natural skill for administration and diplomacy led to him also being appointed as assistant secretary of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for 14 years, in addition to being President of the European Federation (EWF) from 1987 to 1999.
During his tenure of presidency at the EWF the European Schools Championships were introduced, the European Promotion Cup, and the collaboration with David Goldstrom, which has seen the broadcasting of the European Weightlifting Championships on Eurosport television.
Holland joined the Central Council of the British Amateur Weight Lifters' Association (BAWLA) in 1952 and became the general secretary in the early 1960s - a post he held until his retirement in 1999 due to ill health.
He then became secretary of the organisation and a National Olympic Committee representative, by which time he had also began work with the IWF, as an executive member and then vice-president, as well as the EWF which led to him travelling the world in the name of the sport.
His workload was only lessened by the growing onset of blindness, but he continued to take an active interest in the sport right up to his death.
A statement on the IWF's Facebook page read: "An emblematic figure in weightlifting.
"His wit, humour and vitality which he kept for a very long time, well into his 80s, made him a popular and beloved figure all around the world.
"International and European weightlifting has lost a great leader.
"Our sympathy goes to Wally Holland's family and British Weightlifting."
The funeral will be held on Tuesday (July 12) at the Oxford Crematorium, Bayswater Road, OX3 9RZ at 1.30pm GMT.