Full Circle Project film screening delight at Tipton Harriers Cententary Reunion Event

On Sunday the 10th October 2010, sporting champions The Tipton Harriers Athletics Club celebrated their  100th Birthday at Tipton Sports Academy.

The day saw a variety of fun-packed events aimed at both young and old alike. In the snug, Chris Holloway & Keith Atkins, Tipton Harrier Centenary Project Archivists curated an exhibition of Harrier Sporting Memorabilia from the past 100 years.

Photos of  past Tipton Harrier triumphs adorned the walls for Tipton Harriers, past & present, to enjoy.

As well as the great photographs, a selection of films taken from Tony Phillips & Mick Orton’s cinefilm collection, found during the Full Circle Projects search for film, was on display for all to reminisce over.

It certainly was a conversation starter, as people poured into The Snug to watch clips of The Tipton Harriers in various Road Relay races to National Cross Country Championships from the U.K to the USSR. There was also some footage from the ATV collection, held at MACE, of Tipton Harrier ‘Long Distance Runner’ Ron Bentley – who was interviewed by Peter Green in 1974 after he broke the world record for long distance running by running of 161 miles in 24 hours.

 We had the opportunity to interview Ron Bentley again, asking his how it felt 36 years on, to be watching the archive footage again. The interview was filmed by Jon McGovern, www.jmgcreative.co.uk, and will soon be uploaded for everyone to watch.

Ron Bentley talks to Peter Green in an interview for ATV. Image courtesy of ATV.


It also features an interview with Tony Phillips, a depositor of cinefilm found during the Heritage Lottery Funded project – Full Circle.

Tony Phillips was born in Bridgnorth, Shropshire and went on the join the Royal Signals whilst doing his  National Service. When he left the forces he then went on to study at Leicester University and achieved an honours degree in Economics. It was whilst studying in Leicester that he started an athletics club and was the Cross Country Club president. Following this he went into teaching up in Yorkshire, where he ran for the Hull Harriers. However, it was after moving to Dudley in 1957 that Tony finally joined the Tipton Harriers and when he wasn’t racing for them he was filming them.

The aim of theFull Circle  Project is to connect people with their Midlands screen heritage. In some cases this means reuniting them with footage that they may have not seen in years and may never have expected to see again in their own lifetime. The cine footage of the Tipton Harriers shot by Tony Phillips stems from the early 60’s to late 70’s and had not been seen by a lot of the Tipton Harriers members, so with the help of Chris Holloway – who carefully selected clips from the collection and edited them together – a screening was organised for The Tipton Harrier Centenary Event.

MACE hope to work with many more community groups, throughout the Midlands region, in order to find and preserve MORE treasured moments caught on film so that they are no longer lost or left forgotten in people’s attics.

Watching the emotions displayed upon peoples faces as they watched footage that  they had never seen was a fantastic experience – the kind that makes doing a project like this extremely worthwhile. Footage that has captured important moments from their past, some 40 years ago. Which had been copied from Tony and Mick’s collection, and will be preserved in the MACE archive for the enjoyment of future generations. It just showed how important the Full Circle project is and highlighted exaclty why we should continue to seek out individuals like Tony and Mick whose home-movies hold a fascinating and important insight into some of the magical sporting moments of  our Tipton Harrier Heroes.

Image courtesy of ATV. Still from ‘Long Distance Runner’ – Ron Bentley & Peter Green interview.

Thank you to Chris Holloway, Keith Atkins  and everyone who helped in organising the Centenary Event and also thank you to Ron Bentley and Tony Phillips for allowing MACE to interview them. Video interviews to follow… 

Thanks also to Jon McGovern who kindly volunteered his time to photograph,  film and edit the footage from the Centenary Event celebrations for MACE and the Tipton Harriers. www.jmgcreative.co.uk
For more information on The Full Circle Project – please contact  Curator: Lucie Kerley at MACE 0116 252 5931 or email lk99@le.ac.uk

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