Coach tribute to Paralympic ace Karen Lewis-Archer

Karen Lewis-Archer at the peak of her wheelchair racing powers in 1997
Karen Lewis-Archer at the peak of her wheelchair racing powers in 1997

Carluke-born Karen Lewis-Archer – recognised as Scotland’s finest ever wheelchair athlete – has died aged 42 after battling cancer.

Karen, who had spina bifida from birth, was a former T52 400m world champion who just missed out on medals at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney.

She passed away last Wednesday, leaving her husband Wayne and children Dylan and Felicity.

Karen’s long time coach Ian Mirfin (57), who worked with her between 1991 and 2004, said: “It was very difficult hearing the news of Karen’s death. She packed a lot into her 42 years.

“Recently I messaged her on Facebook and she was in good spirits though she knew she had a terminal illness.

“Karen was always prepared to work hard and was very determined.

“She knew where she wanted to be and left no stone unturned to get there.

“Karen never won a Paralympic gold medal but I think she would have done back in the day if marathon had been one of the events.

“She won the Turin Marathon twice and the Dutch Championships.”

A fitting tribute was paid to Karen on Sunday night, when her picture profile was seen by millions of TV viewers watching the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards

Latterly, Karen was working as a disability sports officer for North Tyneside Council. Her funeral service was being held in Newcastle on Thursday.