The world of athletics is mourning the loss of Hercules Wimbledon AC president David Littlewood, MBE, who died on Sunday, aged 76.

Littlewood was one of the sport's top officials, receiving the England Athletics Services to Officiating award in 2012.

He had been involved in athletics as a competitor and official for more than 60 years and was a familiar figure at international meetings both at home and abroad - he was also UKA's representative on the IAAF technical Committee.

At the London Olympics, LIttlewood was the out of stadium competition director, responsible for overseeing the marathon and the race walking events.

He was the Virgin London marathon men's race referee for almost 30 years and was scheduled to officiate at this year's race on April 13.

He celebrated his 73rd birthday in 2010 by receiving his MBE from the Queen, awarded in recognition of his volunteer service to athletics.

Cherry Alexander MBE, head of international competition with UK Athletics, said: "British Athletics has lost a very dear friend.

"David was a remarkable man and as a volunteer in our sport, he was a loyal servant and his work impacted positively on many lives.

"There is no doubt his contribution to schools athletics helped many young athletes fulfil their dreams and he was instrumental in delivering world class English School Championships, across all disciplines."

She added: "David was a long standing member of the IAAF Technical Committee, the international panel of photo finish judges and an international technical officer.

"He officiated all over the world and made many friends who held him in high esteem. His athletics technical expertise and knowledge was incomparable and had a significant impact on improving our sport, a sport which David treasured."

Littlewood officiated at numerous Olympic, world, European and commonwealth events and his involvement extended right across athletics.

At the time of his death, he was honorary secretary of the English Schools Athletics Association, a post he held since 1992.

Since 1981, he was chairman of the British Technical Officials’ Committee and honorary secretary of the UK Rules Revision Group with responsibility for producing the UK Athletics Rulebook every two years.

He was a lifelong member of Hercules Wimbledon AC and after serving as treasurer for a record 43 years was elected president in 2004, and he was also a vice-president of Surrey County AA.

He never forgot the grass roots of athletics and regularly supported Surrey, club and other domestic events, international commitments permitting.

Littlewood, who lived in New Malden, had been seriously ill for three months before his death. His interest in athletics was kindled as a teenager when he was a pupil at Battersea Grammar School on the edge of Tooting Bec Common.

He was a talented sprinter and long jumper, representing London in the English Schools Championships in the 1950s, and he was a regular competitor in the Surrey championships up till 1963.