Sportspeople across the city, from novices to world record holders, have put pen to paper to share their triumphs and tribulations in a new book.
Sporting Stories – Stoke-on-Trent is the first of three books celebrating sport in and around the Potteries at every level.
Created as part of celebrations to mark the city’s year as a European City of Sport in 2016, the book includes more
than 80 contributors aged from four to over 80, talking about their experiences and achievements in sport.
Publisher Peter Hooper worked with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and partners to encourage people from all walks of life to share their tales of races, events, matches, memories and mishaps.
Mr Hooper, managing director at Cox Bank Publishing, said: “Sporting Stories originally started out being aimed at club level amateur sportspeople but conversations led to the scope being broadened significantly to include schools, community groups, care home residents and a generally much wider spread of contributors. So much so that that our youngest author is four and our oldest is well over 80.
“The idea was a simple one – to get people who are engaged in sport and physical activity to write in their own words and in their own voice what it is they get from being active. What we particularly wanted were personal experiences - stories of sporting glory or personal achievement, wins and losses, the motivation and inspiration behind epic challenges. And we’ve got that in spades – with contributors ranging from world champions and world record holders through to people who just love to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
“Most of the stories are quite short, which we hope will make the book something to easily dip into and enjoy on
a regular basis. More than 20 sports are covered in this first volume and there are plenty more to come for the 2017 edition.
“An added pleasure of compiling and editing this book has been the discovery for me that Stoke-on-Trent not only has a thriving and engaging community of writers, but that it also has a wealth of artists capturing sport and sporting history in their work. I am hugely grateful to a number of key individuals for allowing me to reproduce some of their work as illustrations for stories. The book is testament to how embedded sport is in the culture of the city, and how life-affirming and life-changing sport can be for people.”
The book, which is 250 pages long, includes stories from Paralympic gold medallist Jenny Booth, Jean Gough, daughter of Sir Stanley Matthews and 800m runner Emma Jackson. It will be on sale via Cox Bank Publishing's website and selected outlets in the city including the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery shop. It will cost £12.99 with all profits going to the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation.
Councillor Terry Follows, the city council’s cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “Stoke-on-Trent has a rich sporting history and I think it’s fantastic so many people, from amateurs to professional athletes, have contributed to this book. I’m looking forward to reading many of the stories which have been captured and hopefully they will inspire other people to get active and maybe take up a new sport.”
One of the contributors to the book is Anthony Bunn, editor of Duck magazine and freelance writer, who has written about football. He said: “I've been involved in sport for virtually all of my life: playing, coaching, teaching, writing about it, and now as a father of three - taxiing my kids about!
“The benefits of sport are there for all to see, and that is why I am delighted to have been a tiny piece of the
Sporting Stories story. Stoke-on-Trent has a proud and rich sporting heritage, and as well as providing people with some of
their greatest life memories, and also improving their health and fitness, sport also has huge socio-economic advantages to
a city and its people.”