The Summer of 2012
The Olympic Games Stadium, London
This year has been our Silver Jubilee and what a year it has been. How can anyone have failed to see something of the magnificent pageantry of the summer months?
From the majestic splendour that was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations to that of the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ which was the spectacle of the Olympic Games.
On 2nd June it was Mexborough Diamond Jubilee Gala, and thank goodness it dawned bright and sunny. Our display, brightly bedecked in flags and buntings, was situated within the main doors of Mexborough Indoor Market; this showed Celebrations in Mexborough and District throughout the ages.
At 10.10a.m. Julia and Seren (our Chair’s Granddaughter) left to join the parade along the High Street, Graham Oliver was to have accompanied Julia, by carrying the other Mexborough Flag, but because of pressures of work was unable to make it, and Tommy Joyce (thanks Tommy!) filling in on the day.
Buntings could be seen on the shop fronts, gaily coloured stands, children’s roundabouts, and entertainers, lined the High Street. Whereas in the Indoor Market a re-enactment of a 1953 Street Party could be seen. It was a perfect day.
The morning of Tuesday 26th June saw Margaret stood, with the children of Doncaster Road School, at the junction of
Hill Top and Old Road, Conisbrough, to watch the Olympic Torch pass through our area on its route to the Olympic Stadium in London. Thousands lined the route and actors, wearing stilts, entertained the children on their long wait. The torch’s arrival was heralded by police outriders who, joining in on the joyous event sped down the road ‘high fiving’ with all the children on the roadside. From Old Road the torch descended down Castle Hill, the Castle giving any budding photographer a fantastic backdrop to the scene.
Again Low Road was packed with cheering people of all ages as ‘Help the Heroes’ charity worker Tony Eaton carried the flame by them. Its route then took it to the left, onto the main Sheffield-Doncaster Road, where at Warmsworth; again through throngs of happy, cheering, people, it went on its way to Doncaster. Margaret stated that it was an event which she would not have missed for the world and she, and her granddaughter will remember for the rest of their lives.
On Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th July 1912 three huge explosions ripped through the underground workings of the Cadeby Main Colliery.
Two of these explosions, both of which were on 9th July, caused 91 fatalities, 53 of whom were rescuers gone to help their friends. In commemoration of this, on Sunday 8th July 2012, members of your society, along with hundreds of others, attended Denaby Main Cemetery to witness the dedication and unveiling of a monument in their honour.
It was a day when the gods looked down kindly on us as, again, the sun shone. The day began at 10.15a.m. when the people who were to take part in the parade collected on Cadeby Main Colliery Pit Lane (close to The Earth Centre) and at 11a.m., headed by: the Civic Car; the Dodsworth Colliery Band; the new Cadeby Pit Disaster Banner; and Mr. Gwatkin, carrying a Miner’s Lamp, and dressed as he was when he worked, in the black bowels of the earth, as a collier, began there journey along the streets of Denaby. The parade was also attended by: HM Lord Lieutenant of S. Yorks. David Moody; Bishop of Hallam Right Rev. John Rawsthorne; Rt. Hon. Caroline Flint MP; Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies; Civic Mayor Councillor Christine Mills. The mournful tenor bells of Denaby and Conisbrough churches, both with half-muffled clapper for the occasion, struck 91 times, one each for the victims of the disaster, as the parade stood for one minutes silence, firstly outside the Miners’ Memorial Chapel and then the Catholic Church.
At approx.11.30a.m. everyone, including those who took part in the parade, congregated in the centre of Denaby Cemetery, where the new black marble memorial, to those victims of the disaster has been erected. Here a service of dedication was held, interceded by speeches, poems, songs and readings. Then at noon the memorial was unveiled by Mrs. Irene Newton, who is granddaughter of victim James Beech, and the oldest surviving relative of those men and boys killed on that day one hundred years ago.
It has taken 100 years for a monument to be erected in memory of the 91 men who lost their lives in the explosions on that fateful day in 1912 but I think everyone who took part in: raising the finances to pay for this beautiful memorial; plus all the necessary arrangements for the parade and unveiling did them all proud.
At 7p.m. on 27th July 2012 the awe-inspiring, breathtaking, spectacle, which heralded the greatest show on earth began. The opening ceremony, entitled ‘Isles of Wonder’, with 7,500 volunteers, 600 of which were employees of the S, will live with us forever. As to the Olympic Games themselves it was watched avidly by billions from all corners of the globe. The surprise came on Friday when it was revealed that if Yorkshire was a country in its own right then we would have come 10th on the medals table ahead of such counties as South Africa, or continents such as Australia, gaining 5 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals.
There were many firsts set by Yorkshire. The whole proceedings was began by a Yorkshire Lass, this being Sarah Stevenson, of Bentley, who was to compete for Team GB in the Taekwondo, took the oath on behalf of all the athletes. Then it was time for Lizzie Armitstead, from Otley, who won the first Team GB medal of the Olympics, by gaining silver in the women's road race. Another cyclist Ed Clancy, from Huddersfield, won gold in the men's team pursuit and then took a bronze in the omnium. Then came Nicola Wilson who also won silver, but this time in the Team Eventing Competition. Jessica Ennis, of Sheffield, won gold in the heptathlon. Andrew Triggs-Hodge, a rower, raised in Hebden, North Yorkshire, was in Great Britain's gold-winning men's coxless fours crew. Alistair Brownlee, won the men's triathlon followed by his brother Jonny, who obtained the bronze, both men are from Horsforth, Leeds. Nicola Adams, from Leeds, became the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal. Then, last but not least, Luke Campbell, from Hull won one of the last gold medals of the Olympics by winning the Bantamweight Boxing Competition. Pillar Boxes and Post Boxes were pained gold, in their honour, in their home towns.
Information From: Weekender; The Leaflet of the Centenary Commemoration of the Cadeby Main Colliery Disaster; Bell Ringers Website; Ok Magazine Commemorative Issue 7th August 2012; Weekender 19th August 2012. The Official websites of: The Route of the Olympic Torch, The London Olympics, Olympic Medals Tables, Fran Leighton, Sarah Stevenson, Lizzie Armistead, Ed Clancy, Nicola Wilson, Jessica Ennis, Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Alistair & Jonny Brownlee, Nicola Adams, Luke Campbell; The History of the Paralympics.
Our own local competitors Amy Oliver, of Swinton and Fran Leighton, of Wath, did splendidly. Amy winning the world champion in Archery, and Fran became the captain of the first GB Ladies’ Water Polo Team to qualify for the Olympic Games and succeeded in attaining the quarter finals.
Even Betty, the pet name for the Olympic Cauldron, which consisted of 204 copper petals, one for each competing country, was designed and created in Yorkshire. This being Stage One based at Tockwith, North Yorkshire.
Every one of them covered Yorkshire in glory and we should be justifiably proud of both them and everyone from our region that competed.
At the time of going to print we await the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. The first of which was invented by Ludwick Guttman and held at Stoke Mandeville
hospital in 1948. This I eagerly await as if this opening ceremony is anything like the
other it will be splendiferous, and may the effervescent lift it gives to the spirit of the nation continue.
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