A couple of weeks ago, I ran an article here that has proven remarkably popular: a story of amazing sporting heroism and a subsequent life of administering fair play as a snooker referee – the wonderful life story of local man Geoff Harrington.
At the time the story was sent to me by David Evans, I recognised Geoff as a noted local historian who’d worked on books with Bill and Clarice Mayo, and knew little of his sporting prowess. Through the material kindly donated by Geoff a story emerged of a Brownhills unsung hero, and readers were enthralled by it.
I said at the time I had more material to come, including a film. I was preparing this post for the weekend, when I’d have time to upload the film – but by a wonderful act of felicity, the remarkable newsreel footage of Geoff setting a world record at Powderhall in 1951 has been uploaded to YouTube by Chris Lawrence, and I feature it blow for readers to watch.
Film courtesy Geoff Harrington and Chris Lawrence
History rapscallion Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler also got to work on the story and found the following news clippings relating to Geoff’s running career: he was clearly a very big deal at the time, yet it seems few in Brownhills know it today.
Interesting to note the ‘Darlington’ reference – seems local papers then were about as accurate as they are now!
It has been a great pleasure and honour to share this story with the community, and I’m hugely grateful to all involved – David Evans, Peter Cutler, Chris Lawrence… and of course, the gentleman himself, Geoff Harrington.
Thanks, Geoff – for a wonderful life in sport, and for letting me tell the story here.