I’m delighted to feature this month Jack Sankey, who in the late 50s and early 60s was a rival to the up and coming Ron Wallwork and a star in my eyes. At the time Leigh Harriers Athletic Club hosted its own race walking section and Jack was the outstanding athlete. A recognition of race walking was embedded in the culture of the club and the annual championships always featured a one mile race on the cinder track.

Jack on his way to winning the club championship. Just look at the crowd!

Looking back as a young Leigh Harrier I never felt that aspiring to be a race walker was looked down upon in the club. The event was respected. And, in turn, lacking any fast-twitch fibres I ran slowly in all the shorter distances, tried the high jump and generally mucked in. Later on I came into my own a bit on the country and road, but that’s another story. As it was Leigh couldn’t muster a team for the Northern and National race walking championships so Jack, highly thought of for his stylish mode of progression, joined Lancashire Walking Club.

This move certainly paid dividends for all concerned in 1961. The LWC team of Ron Wallwork. Mike Jeffreys, Jack and John Todd finished second in the National 10 miles championships at Loughborough, only 5 points behind Sheffield. The Race Walking Record remarked that ” this was a surprising result and much the best performance by Lancashire in a race of this class.” In a race won by Ken Matthews in 74:21 ahead of Eric Hall [ later a 2nd claim LWC member] at 76:54, Ron was 12th in 80:15, Mike Jeffreys 18th in 81:56, Jack 19th in 82:05 and Jack Todd 46th in 85:56, the latter just 3 seconds down on a certain Guy Goodair!

Jack born in 1931 won individual medals as follows:

1950 2nd Northern Junior One Mile ; 1955 3rd Lancs Senior 2 miles; 1958 3rd Northern Senior 10 miles; 1958 3rd Lancs Senior 10 miles; 1959 1st Lancs Senior 10 miles and 1st Lancs Senior 20 miles. He won the Leigh Harriers 1 mile championships in 1952 and from 1955-1960.

Brian Whitfield, number 55 was 3rd in the 1963 Lancashire 1 mile senior championship and played in the pack for the Tyldesley Colleries rugby league team!

It should be noted that Jack’s career was interrupted by the need to do his Nationai Service, 1953-54. Are there any other walkers still out there effected by that requirement of its time?


As I put together these memories of Jack I was taken aback to realise he would be 90 years of age this year. Sadly I have to relate that Jack died in 2014 in Much Wenlock, where John Taylor, the author of the Leigh Harriers history visited him in 2009.



  1. Tony Taylor 16:18
  2. Dave Evans 18:39
  3. Mario Bernatzki 18:47 [G]
  4. Graham Jackson 19:15 [G]
  5. Denis Jackson 19:22 [G]
  6. Tony Bell 19:43
  7. Greg Smith 19:56
  8. Pat Evans 20:01
  9. Glyn Jones 20:07 [G]
  10. Martin Payne 20:20
  11. Roy Gunnett 21:16
  12. Joe Hardy 21:30
  13. Ian Hilditch 22:18
  14. Jane Pouncy 25:54
  15. John Pouncy 27:09
  16. Andrea Lennon 27:13

Glyn Jones sends this lovely Easter greeting and anecdote

Firstly best wishes and a Happy Easter to you and all Lancs W.C. colleagues.

This morning turned out to be very good walking wise. Not having the traditional easter egg for breakfast!!! But porridge instead. I decided to do the 3km on my measured 1km lap in the country lanes near me rather than go to the other 1km lap on the Enville Hall Estate thinking probably less people out for the bank holiday morning. Glad to say the local council had this week gone and repaired numerous potholes in the lane which certainly made it look walkable and to the local farmers as well.

It was not what the forecast had said. It was a cool slight Northerly breeze but sunny intervals which were not forecast until this afternoon. (They don’t always get it right!!)

Just under a 1km warm up and then off from the start point.

A buzzard calling overhead (not too low though) kept me company for 2 laps and perhaps my yellow top may have attracted him and luckily that was all!! A pheasant came out of the hedgerow on lap 2 but quickly disappeared as I approached without making any comment. One van and 3 horse riders was all that passed me during my effort.

It must have been one of those days and time (10am ish) when everything seemed to go right with no aches from sitting down too much in this lockdown.

All in all I managed to do a better time than February recording my 3km in 20mins 07 secs.

I was pleased!!!

Signs are that competition is about to begin again for road. Lets hope and providing people are sensible that we don’t have any further spike from this Coronavirus. I am due to have my second vaccination on April 10th next.


  1. Pat Evans 20:01; 5:10; 14:51
  2. Glyn Jones 20:07; 4:25; 15:42 [G]
  3. Jane Pouncy 25:54; 10:00; 15:54
  4. Roy Gunnett 21:16; 5:10; 16:06
  5. Dave Evans 18:39; 2:30; 16:09
  6. Graham Jackson 19:15; 3:00; 16:15 [G]
  7. Tony Taylor 16:18; 0:00; 16:18
  8. Martin Payne 20:20; 4:00; 16:20
  9. Denis Jackson 19:22; 3:00; 16:22 [G]
  10. Tony Bell 19:43; 3:20; 16:23
  11. Marco Bernatzki 18:47; 1:50; 16:57 [G]
  12. Joe Hardy 21:30; 4:00; 17:30
  13. Andrea Lennon 27:13; 9:30; 17:43
  14. John Pouncy 27:09; 9:10; 17:59
  15. Ian Hilditch 22:18; 4:00; 18:18
  16. Greg Smith 19:56; 1:30; 18:26

Once again I am deeply indebted to John Taylor’s remarkable labour of love, ‘A Pictorial History of Leigh Harriers A.C.’ for the photos and information.

The distance for our April Virtual Club Series will be 5 kilometres, preparing thighs crossed for our first real outing in 2021 over 7 miles on May 8 in Chorley, contesting the Dave Crompton Memorial Trophy. Times for the April 5k to be submitted to Tony by midnight on Sunday, May 2. Thanks to everyone for their support. Looking forward enviously to seeing photos of your good selves on the road.

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