Tributes to a ‘true gentleman’

Tributes have been paid to badminton coach David Johnston after he passed away suddenly at the end of last month.

David Johnston pictured promoting badminton in North Lanarkshire in 2014

A lifelong supporter of the game developer of the game he started his first club in Cumbernauld 28 years ago.

David’s sessions catered for everyone, from children as young as five to older adults, delivered across many parts of Scotland including Fife, Falkirk, Stirling and more recently the Lanarkshire area.

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Initially working for North Lanarkshire Council as a NOPES (New Opportunities for PE & Sports) officer, he would later undertake the role of badminton development officer with NL Lesiure.

This allowed him to expand and grow badminton, delivering the sport to many schools across North Lanarkshire and setting up further community classes in areas such as Airdrie, Bellshill, Holytown and Motherwell.

He was also part of the North Lanarkshire Badminton Development Group as well as serving on the Central Badminton Association management committee supporting further opportunities for social adult competition.

David would play a pivotal role in organising the badminton at the Lanarkshire 2011 International Children’s Games, in 2012 he carried the Olympic torch, and was part of the Queen’s Baton Relay for 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He raised thousands of pounds for various charities through running badminton tournaments and raffles , as well as winning various accolades.

David’s daughters Lyndsey Ledger and Elaine Martin said: “Our dad was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. He was passionate about badminton but more than that he was a great encourager to adults and children alike.

“His goal was to see all children in North Lanarkshire offered the opportunity to take part in badminton and he achieved this by going into many schools and offering coaching that had never been available before.

“Our Dad was the biggest encourager to everyone he taught and so many have been inspired to become coaches thanks to his support and faith in them.

“He was not just a coach, but a friend to everyone and cared so deeply for all those who were within his clubs and beyond. He was one of life’s true gentleman.”

Jill O’Neil, Badminton Scotland’s chair of engagement, added: “David lived and breathed our sport and it would be very difficult to find a more passionate advocate for badminton.

“I first met him when he was involved with Cumbernauld Juniors and his love of the game was just infectious. Increasing engagement and raising participation levels came so naturally to him and my experience of him was that he was a genuinely warm, funny, self-deprecating and caring person who was loved by so many people.

“I’m not sure he ever totally realised the massively positive impact he had in the lives of those who were lucky enough to be part of his network nor how good a coach he was. That was David, it was always about others – never himself.

“He’s an enormous loss to our sport and will be hugely missed by everyone who knew him. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”