Civic honour for war hero

A 100-year-old war hero and Olympic runner from West Sussex has been awarded a civic honour.

Last updated:
6 March 2017

A video-release can be found at

Bill Lucas, who lives in Cowfold, has been awarded a West Sussex Certificate of Achievement - an honour that is presented only a handful of times each year.

He was given the Certificate of Achievement on Friday 3 March by Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, and Pat Arculus, Chairman of West Sussex County Council.  They were joined by Lionel Barnard, County Councillor for Henfield and Vice Chairman of the County Council, who nominated Bill for this award.

Bill flew 81 life-threatening missions during World War II as a wartime pilot of heavy bombers and a path finder and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He also represented Great Britain at the 1948 Olympics in London competing in the 5,000 metres and has the honour of being the country’s oldest Olympian.

Bill has been President of the Belgrave Harriers three times, after spending many years developing future athletes.

Bill said: “I’m quite honoured really. It’s unexpected.”

At the presentation ceremony Pat Arculus said: “Bill is a remarkable man and it’s a pleasure to be here recognising that. There is a tremendous amount of pride and gratitude in this room today for a man who so selflessly served his country. It’s incredible to see what he has achieved in 100 years. He is an inspiration for us all.”

Born in 1917, Bill discovered his passion for running at school. His father had been in the army as a Sergeant in the Northamptonshire Regiment and was awarded a Military Medal for saving his Commanding Officer.

Bill lives in Cowfold with his wife Sheena. He is President of the Royal Air Force Association branch in Haywards Heath.

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