Tag Archives: Ambleside Sports

First woman at the helm of traditional Lakeland sports

 

A new chair has taken the helm of the committee which organises England’s oldest traditional sports event.

Marjorie Blackburn is the first woman to lead Ambleside Sports, now in its 132nd year. Mrs Blackburn takes over from Jak Hirst who is stepping down after 13 years. He will keep an advisory role, and retain responsibility for attracting sponsorship.

Marj and Jak

Mrs Blackburn, who lives in Ambleside, has been a member of the organising committee for 18 years, alongside her husband, Mike, himself a former chairman.  Her professional career includes teaching and training, personnel and business, and she is a keen golfer, walker, and member of a local singing group.

Many tributes were paid to Mr Hirst’s “total dedication” to the Sports and he was described as a great team leader.

Ambleside Sports is run entirely by volunteers who spend months in planning and organising, and then a full week of setting up and taking down the sports field equipment. One of the highlights on the Cumbrian calendar, the event includes fell racing (with a new category for under-9s in the popular Guides race this year), hound trails, track cycling, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling and many stalls and sideshows.

The committee has also given £14,000 in the last five years in sporting scholarships to young people in the area, to help them develop their sporting potential.

Also stepping down from the committee was Tom Harrington MBE, the Cumberland and Westmorland wrestler who won 44 world championships.

This year’s event will be held at Rydal Park on Thursday July 26. Space is still available for anyone wanting to book a trade stall in the “craft” marquee to sell local produce, art, jewellery etc, and these can be booked for £35, including table,  via the website http://amblesidesports.co.uk/

 

 

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Come and join us, says Ambleside Sports team

The UK’s oldest-established traditional sporting event is looking for more helpers to take the event forward to a successful future.

Ambleside Sports was held this summer for the 131st time, featuring track and fell running, junior races, Cumberland wrestling, track cycling and hound trailing. It’s organised entirely by a team of volunteers who are now looking to recruit new members.

Chairman Jak Hirst said: “Our committee runs the most successful volunteer organisation in Cumbria, and we have a spectacular event which is loved by thousands of visitors every year. But we need some younger people with energy and ideas to share in our success.

“We know that many local families have children who take part in the sports, the running and wrestling, and we hope that they might consider giving just a little of their time to help us provide these activities.”

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Mr Hirst pointed out that the committee meets only six times a year, with a need for “able bodies” during show week to set up and dismantle the site. “A bit of extra help with administration  and secretarial work can also go a long way,” he added.

The Sports was part of the Lake District’s successful bid for World Heritage status. The LDNP co-ordinator said at the time of the bid: “Local people are at the heart of the rich, cultural landscape of the Lake District. The survival of our local traditions associated with hill farming culture, including annual agricultural shows, shepherds’ meets and traditional sports, such as Ambleside Sports, are a crucial part of our case for World Heritage.”

The committee has organised an extra meeting on Thursday November 9 at the Golden Rule in Ambleside (7.30) and hopes that new recruits will come along to learn how they can help. “We’ll buy you a drink and make you very welcome,” said Mr Hirst.  “It’s your chance to help ensure that this fantastic tradition continues.”

If you’d like to help, but can’t get to the meeting, call Mr Hirst on 07703 532868