The sporting oral histories of people in East Kent have been captured and published as part of an award-winning heritage and wellbeing project.
The book comprises the edited transcripts of the oral history recordings carried out by the project, which was created by Kent and Medway Active Partnership and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to address an absence in the exploration, recording and preservation of sporting heritage in east Kent.
The stories gathered in the book touch on a wide range of sports, including men’s and women’s football, wheelchair racing, cricket, boxing, basketball, as well as activities centered around the east Kent coast, such as wind surfing, waterskiing, and sea swimming.
Contributors to the book include Hilary Casey who “hated sport” as a young girl but then moved to Hythe and became involved with Folkestone Sports Centre and started playing tennis and skiing on the dry ski slope. This ignited a lifelong passion for being active.
For Burmarsh resident Mark Steeple, sea swimming is more than just a pastime– it’s a way of life. Mark describes his life in water sports – from canoeing in Ashford to surfing in Folkestone to windsurfing in Sandgate,to open water swimming in Hythe – and his enduring love affair with the east Kent coast.
For Alan Bartley (pictured on previous page), “sport never stopped”. Whether it was boxing, bowls, football, fishing or tennis sport has always been central in Alan’s life. The Hawkinge resident reflects on his sporting experiences and accomplishments in his home town, Dover. He also spoke about living with dementia writing poetry and his determination to “beat the plaques” – a reference to abnormalities which can affect functions in the brain.
The book also features more than 20 other sports enthusiasts from areas including Ashford, Folkestone, Hawkinge, Romney Marsh, Hamstreet , Capel-le-Ferne, Appledore, Littlestone, Romney Marsh, Dymchurch, Tenterden and Lydd.
Titled Kent’s Sporting Memories, the book will be launched at a free online event hosted by former rugby union international star John Taylor, from 11:00-12:30 on Thursday, 17 June, via Zoom. Registration is free via this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kents-sporting-memories-book-launch-celebration-tickets-157938800203?aff=ebdssbeac
By talking about their personal experiences and reflecting upon how their lives have changed over the years, the interviewees featured in the book also shed light on many social aspects of Kent village and town life, including the forging and experience of friendship.
Project Coordinator Michael Romyn said: “We hope as many people as possible will join us for the digital launch of our new book. We are thrilled that John Taylor is hosting the celebratory event, which will be a fun and interesting reflection on and discussion of local sporting heritage with some of the participants featured in the book.”
As a lasting resource for communities to learn about their sporting past, copies of the book are being distributed to local schools, libraries, social hubs, youth and community groups, and sports clubs. The project has also produced an e-version of the book, which will be freely available.
About the Sporting Memories Project
Beginning in 2019, Kent’s Sporting Memories project is managed by Kent Sport, the Active Partnership for Kent and Medway, and delivered in partnership with the Sporting Memories Foundation, CARM (Caring Altogether on Romney Marsh) and Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project involves sporting and social sessions to improve the lives of people living with dementia. The project archive can be viewed at: https://sportingmemorieskent.omeka.net
In 2020, the Community Archives Heritage Group named Kent’s Sporting Memories ‘Community Archive and Heritage Group of the Year’ and winner of ‘Best Contribution to Wellbeing Community and Heritage Group’.
For a free digital copy of Kent’s Sporting Memories book visit https://sportingmemorieskent.omeka.net/exhibits/show/kent-s-sporting-memories-ebook/item/281 For more information on the project and the book launch contact Michael Romyn via email: email@example.com or by phone: 07423 284045.
About the Kent and Medway Active Partnership – Kent Sport
The Kent and Medway Active Partnership – Kent Sport is an integrated team of Kent County Council and Sport England funded staff working together as the Active Partnership for Kent and Medway. It is part of a nationwide network of 43 Active Partnerships.
It provides a strategic lead on sport and physical activity so that all people and organisations may work together towards a more active county.
Partners and networks include:
- governing bodies of sport
- school sports networks
- local authorities
- adult social care
- community safety
Together we aim to provide opportunities for everyone to get involved in sport and physical activity for enjoyment, as well as wider health and social outcomes.