A PERMANENT memorial to John MacDonald is a fitting way to remember a man who made Dunfermline “so much better off in terms of sport”.

That’s the view of Pitreavie Amateur Athletics Club, who said they were delighted that they were able to pay tribute to their legendary former coach with a lasting reminder at the track where he honed Olympic talent.

John, who was 89, passed away in July last year while on a family break and, in tribute to around four decades of service to the club, the spectator stand was renamed in his memory on December 17.

Rachel Doyle, who is their sub group liaison officer, said: “We were delighted to be able to do this.

“We were joined by members of John’s family, old members of the club and some of his friends. There were around 50 people there and it was a lovely thing to round off the year with.

“Our past president, Paul Allan, gave a speech and spoke of the history of the club. He was one of John’s former athletes and is now a club coach, so it tied in nicely.

“Dunfermline is so much better off in terms of sport, not just in athletics, because of his involvement.

“We were delighted to receive Fife Council’s support and Wendy Watson, of Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, made sure the centre was happy and was keen to see it happen.”

Support also came from Cowdenbeath Councillor Darren Watt, who set the ball rolling soon after John’s passing last year by launching an online fundraising page for a memorial, and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird.

John, who was named Dunfermline and West Fife Sports Council’s Coach of the Year for 2015, worked with countless athletes up until his death, including current club member and hurdler Jack Lawrie.

He memorably mentored daughter Linsey – Pitreavie’s first-ever Olympian – to a 4x400 metres bronze medal at the Moscow Olympics of 1980, as well as sprinter Ian Mackie to the 1996 and 2000 Games.

Mackie, who reached the 100m semi-final in Atlanta, said John helped “make my dreams come true” and Rachel hopes he’ll continue to inspire athletes of the future as his legacy lives on.

“His family were delighted that we still think of him,” she continued.

“The plaque reminds me of John standing there on the track. He’d be there six nights a week for maybe 35-40 years, and his achievements include coaching his daughter Linsey, Ian Mackie and Jack Lawrie.

“But it’s not just past Olympians; under-16 athletes he was working with have been winning at under-17 level. At our annual awards in March, we’re going to have one in memory of John as well. It was a celebration and that’s what John would’ve wanted.”