Sad news as our sport mourns loss of Joyce Hogg and Sandy Gunn

Sunday 30th April 2023

Joyce Hogg with Rhona Auckland at the National XC back in 2014 – Bobby Gavin’s superb photo became a key ‘Coaching’ image across our channels 

scottishathletics are sad to advise of the passing of Aberdeen AAC coaching legend Joyce Hogg.

Surrounded by close family, Joyce passed away on Wednesday 26 April following a brave battle with mesothelioma and complications after surgery.

Everyone at Aberdeen AAC and across our sport sends condolences to family and friends.


We have been advised funeral details for Joyce as follows:

Thursday 18 May at 11.15am

Aberdeen Crem, West Chapel

(Hazlehead, Aberdeen, AB15 8PT)


Below a few words in tribute from James Joy, Aberdeen AAC Coach Coordinator, on behalf of club members and our sport . . .

‘Joyce started with Aberdeen AAC as an individual athlete participating in a variety of disciplines, each time taking on a new event with enthusiasm and vigour, as she did with any challenge.

However, she is best known as a coach and stalwart of AAAC, alongside her husband, Ken.

Her coaching career lasted many decades with a long list of notable successes across middle and long distances: Debbie Kilner to Scottish senior cross-country champion in 1996; Rhona Auckland to multiple European track and world cross-country championships, including European U23 champion in 2014; Laura Mahady to multiple world over W50 and W55 middle distance and relay champion titles (2009-14); Kelsey Stewart to multiple junior European and Commonwealth relay representations and British U23 400m champion in 2017; Michael Ferguson to Scottish 1500m champion in 2019.

Rarely was a Scottish cross-country or track and field  fixture complete without Joyce navigating the mud to cheer on athletes or camped out trackside at the 200m start providing advice and support – the pair of them racked up a significant mileage!

As a long-standing member of the AAAC committee, Joyce took on the newly established role of coach coordinator, laying the foundations and overseeing a new club coaching structure ahead of the 2009 opening of Aberdeen Sports Village, anticipating significant interest from prospective new athletes.

She and Ken set up the AAAC Academy, providing additional support to developing club athletes participating at the highest standard in the country.

Joyce was also key in the support of students at Aberdeen university, the development of the student athletics club, but also the link between the local athletics club and local students at both Aberdeen university and RGU.

Amongst it all, Joyce encouraged athletes to take up athletics coaching and mentored many young, newly qualified individuals. These efforts and foundations leave a significant ongoing legacy and enabled Joyce and Ken to retire from coaching in late 2019.

Many athletes lucky enough to have been coached by Joyce will enjoy fond memories.

Personally, my favourite over the 15 years I worked with her will always be the many celebratory ice creams we each enjoyed following my expulsion from 800m qualification rounds at BUCS and English age group championships on a sunny Bedford day.

Joyce is survived by husband, Ken; a daughter, Lorna; and a son, Graeme.


Sandy Gunn B.E.M.

Often in athletics, the initiative behind a great club, belongs to one person whose passion and drive not only creates it, but is the architect of its growth.

Sandy Gunn was such a person.  He also embodied the concept that a winning culture is founded on a learning culture.

So having put in place Caithness A.C. in Thurso, he would drive from Thurso to Largs on a Friday to attend coaches’ courses, and drive back on Sunday evenings.

He’d do the same for the Scottish Coaches Conventions. He never stopped having the hunger to learn and persuading others to have that same hunger. It was this that was behind his pushing for summer coaching camps at Dingwall.

But what made his creation of Caithness so particularly remarkable, was that there was neither track nor gym to begin with.

Instead, there was use of a school playing field that he negotiated with the local education authority.  The school gym and corridors followed!  Then, of course, there was Dunnet Sands and Sand Dunes to work on.

He even persuaded the then Scottish Sports Council to give a grant for a pole vault landing pad and pole and out of this environment, athletes not only took medals at Scottish Schools and Scottish Age group and senior championships but wore Scottish and Great Britain colours.

He was a truly outstanding person who brought an extra dimension to the quality of life for young people in our far Scottish Northeast. He lived the concept that through athletics and sport in general, we not only prepare people for the arena, but through that experience, for life.

We have lost someone very special as a person, a friend, and a coach.

The thoughts and prayers of Scotland’s coaching community are with his daughter, Lynne and family.



Tags: Aberdeen, Joyce Hogg, Sandy Gunn

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