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The Rushden Echo, 22nd July 1927, transcribed by Peter Brown
National Schools Athletic Association Sports
Rushden District Scholars
Youngsters’ First Visit To London

The selected competitors from Rushden and district, along with teachers and friends, to the number of 30, journeyed to London on Saturday last, in order to represent their county, with other selected Northants children, in the National Schools Athletic Association Sports at Stamford Bridge, where they hoped to render a good account of themselves.

The Rushden contingent left Rushden by the 8.27 train, and on reaching St. Pancras travelled by 'bus across to Chelsea. The children were full of excitement for in the majority of cases it was the first visit to the Metropolis. They had not long to wait for a thrill. Whilst pa1 along Piccadilly the bells of fire engines could be heard. All the traffic immediately stopped and the children saw three fully-manned fire engines tear along at break neck speed down Regent-street to the scene of the tragic event in Beak-street. Many interesting buildings were pointed out to the young visitors, who managed to catch through the trees a glimpse of

Buckingham Palace,

and many eyes were cast towards Rotten Row where parties of riders were exercising their horses.

On arriving at Chelsea the competitors were taken to the Ashburnham-road Schools, which served as the dressing rooms for the thousand competitors. Here all competitors were given light refreshments and received instructions regarding arrangements, etc., at Stamford Bridge. At 1.15 all competitors lined up in their respective county groups and marched to the Chelsea Football Ground, where they were conducted by stewards to their positions in the competitors' stands. Community singing, conducted by Mr. T. P. Ratcliff and accompanied by the Royal Air Force Band, was indulged in, the favourite tune being "John Brown's Body," which went with a wonderful swing.

The next event was one which will live long in the memories of those who were privileged to witness it—the

Grand Parade

of the 1,000 competitors representing 21 counties. Led by the Air Force Band, the county teams, each preceded by a banner bearing the name of the competing county, marched in perfect rhythm round the track, each group being loudly cheered as it swung past its admiring supporters. Spectators were amazed at the manly bearing and fine physique of these youthful athletes as they tripped past with a swing equal to the swing of a trained regiment. On reaching the saluting base, where the salute was taken by Sir William Joynson-Hicks, the Home Secretary, each competitor shot out his or her left arm to salute in true Olympic fashion. This magnificent spectacle reached its culminating point as each group passed to commence the athletic events amidst deafening cheers from spectators packed in the huge grandstands.

The events started immediately after this, and in a short space of time the tug-of-war, girls' long jump, boys' high jump, and boys' 100 yards were in full swing.


secured an early success, Fitzhugh, of Ashby St. Ledgers, breasting the tape first in the first heat of the 100 yards. Dixon, a promising runner from Newton-road Schools, Rushden, ran in an exceptionally finely-contested heat in the 220 yards, only to be beaten by inches for second place. Jaques, another Newton-road lad, who had shown fine form at the local sports and also at the County sports, was compelled to retire after going round once in the half-mile owing to an attack of dizziness. He had run well, for he was well placed when, unfortunately, he had to drop out. Several records were broken, the

Most Amazing

being the boys' high jump, where the winner, a Kent lad, jumped 5ft. 1in. nearly 1 foot higher than the winner at the County Sports at Northampton!

The rapidity which one event followed another was astonishing, for from 2 o’clock until 5 o'clock the whole arena was occupied by enthusiastic competitors. Nothing but praise can be bestowed upon the promoters for the excellent arrangements of the meeting, which was, a triumph of organisation. Essex and London were the outstanding teams, and it was not surprising that at the end these were the winners. The way some of their representatives ran, particularly in the hurdle races, won the admiration of the vast crowd, who were ever ready to acknowledge the wonderful performances shown by both winners and losers.

After the presentation of the trophies by

The Home Secretary

to the winning teams, the whole of the competitors marched back to the Ashburnham-road Schools, where they were entertained to a richly-earned "high tea." Afterwards the Rushden contingent wended its way back to St. Pancras, catching the 8.25 train, which landed them in Rushden at 11.45 p.m., after spending a glorious day. Although the competitors were somewhat disappointed at their non-success their visit to Stamford Bridge as representatives of Northants will live long in their memories.

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