Firstly I must apologise that the site has been dormant for well over year. I’ll spare you the excuses, but it’s not entirely down to my dull sloth. Whatever, my New Year resolution is to get things up and walking again. In doing so I’m proposing that the site changes its character somewhat. Without abandoning its commitment to reflecting the history of our great club the site will now become the vehicle for disseminating today’s news, information and results. So look out for in the next few days for pieces on Fred Pearce, the new National President, Greg Smith, celebrating fifty years of race walking, plus results, fixtures and photos.
However history will not be forgotten. And in this spirit we were amazed to receive a message from Terry Payne, whose great-uncle was the remarkable ‘mighty atom’ Tom Payne, who was victorious in the inaugural 1908 Manchester-Blackpool race and again in 1909, 1910, 1911, 1919 and 1920. His first three successive victories meant he won outright the inaugural trophy. And, lo and behold, Terry has lovingly overseen the restoration of the cup to its former glory.
The trophy was given to my Granddad, Tom’s brother and I have always had a keen interest in the history of Tom Payne.
The trophy is inscribed on the back.
T. Payne 1908
T. Payne 1909
On the front the inscription says,
Presented by members of the council of the county borough of Blackpool.
To the winner of the walk from Manchester to Blackpool. 29th February 1908.
Won outright by Tom Payne 1910
The cup is solid silver and has a new coat of 9ct gold plate in it again and looks fantastic! Has been a long time waiting to be able to restore it to its former glory and I am looking to have a new plinth made in the same style as its original.
I hope you all find this as interesting as I have. There is even Pathe news footage showing Tom competing in the walk.
We’re crossing fingers that one day Terry might bring the magnificent trophy along to a club race. That would be some event.
As a great lover of old black and white film I was particularly pleased to see the amazing reel of tom Payne heel toeing his way to yet another victory and in an “honest” style. How things change. It is easy to forget how much these sportsmen were revered by the public and when was crowd control ever an issue in a modern walking race ! Fabulous film and a superb slice of club history.
Many thanks, Dave, for commenting. It would be great if more people put in their pennysworth as hopefully the site prospers. And I’ve not forgotten the money I owe you for the new club vests!! Best Wishes for 2016.