Death of former Keswick School race walking champion

Date: Saturday 18th June 2005

A FORMER Keswick School student, who held three world race walking records simultaneously when in her early 20s, has died in Perth, Scotland, aged 47.

Dr. Carol Tyson, who was a boarder at the school and was world renowned as a race walker, had her achievements recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

When studying in Keswick she was always interested in athletics and as a cross-country and track runner she soon reached county standard. However, when the English School’s Athletic Association introduced race walking she really came into her own.

John Cameron, her former coach at Keswick School, said: “Carol was an exceptional race walker as she had a ballet background and was so flexible.”

Dr. Tyson became British champion when she was a student at Keswick School and went on to compete against the Norwegian and Swedish walkers, who were the best in the world at the time.

Mr. Cameron said: “She was a gifted athlete and a willing student and a popular girl at school.”

Dr. Tyson was also a competitive race walker while studying medicine at Kings College, London. Her most successful years were in the 1980s when she was world champion at 5,000 and 10,000m.

Dr. Tyson worked in London as a paediatrician before she spent a year at a specialist paediatric hospital in New Zealand. She returned to work in London before becoming an associate specialist at a hospital in Great Yarmouth. She settled in Scotland in 2000 and worked at the Perth Royal Infirmary. Following an accident 18 months ago, she was off work for seven months and decided to take things more slowly, working in community care at schools around the area.

She gave up race walking after she was knocked from her bike and suffered an injury to her Achilles tendon, but she always remained fit and took part in a 5k Run for Life, in aid of breast cancer research, after fighting back to fitness from the neck injury she suffered 18 months ago. She completed the course in a creditable 28 minutes.

Her sister, Sally Shrimpton, who lives in France, said: “She was always a determined woman and had many friends. We were both boarders at Keswick School, but I was older and when Carol started she was always known as Sally’s sister. However, by the end of our time there I was known as Carol’s sister!”

Dr. Tyson was taken to Dundee Hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning with breathing difficulties and, despite desperate efforts to save her by friends and colleagues in the hospital, she died a few hours later.

The medical profession is at a loss as to how she died, but further investigations are ongoing.

Dr. Tyson had a 12-year-old daughter called Tara Flores with her first husband, but the two were divorced some years ago. She has been with her present partner, Ian Oswald, for seven years.

Mr. Oswald said: “Carol was always such a bright and bubbly person and anybody whose life she touched was the better for it.”

The couple lived in the village of Pitcairn Green and Dr. Tyson threw herself into life there, becoming part of the community. She even won prizes in the local show for her jam and prize onions.

Mr. Oswald said: “She will be so sadly missed by everybody. Tara is so much like her mum talented and bright and has already won the school’s sporting trophy.”

Dr. Tyson’s mother and father, the late Jack and Peggy Tyson, lived in Millbeck, and were also doctors. She is survived by her two brothers and two sisters David, Sally, Susan and Richard.

A service will be held in Perth before Dr. Tyson’s body is brought back for a funeral service at Crosthwaite Church on Wednesday, at 11-30am, and she will be interred in the churchyard near her mother and father.