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Monday, 29 February 2016
When Mrs Joan Sheridan read about Year 7 pupil Elly Fraser winning the Salford 100s Lifesaving Competition in The Bolton News, it sparked a memory: she recalled receiving a similar medal herself when she was at school in 1947. She found the medal and contacted Bolton School to find out if it was the same competition.
Bolton School Girls’ Division Head of P.E. Mrs Heatherington was delighted to confirm that it was indeed the same competition, still running 68 years later! She invited Joan back into School to meet the latest winner, Elly.
Joan and Elly compared their experiences of the competition in 1947 and 2015. Both were twelve years old when they competed, and the lifesaving tasks turned out to be very similar: swimming to the deep end and retrieving a rubber brick from the bottom of the pool, and ‘rescuing’ another pupil from the water. This was all timed, with the fastest contestant winning the medal.
Joan said that there were seven medals given to competitors in the 1947 competition, while Elly was the only recipient in 2015.
However, just four schools from the Bolton area took part in the 2015 Salford 100s competition, Bolton School being one of them. Mrs Heatherington explained that the organisers have had to fight very hard to keep the Salford 100s going as lifesaving skills no longer form part of the curriculum, and the core of the competitors now come from schools in Bolton. Earlier in its history, the competition was larger and saw schools from a wider area taking part, including children from Salford and Manchester.
Joan showed Elly the medal that she won in 1947, with her name on the back. This was a real treat as Elly has not yet received her own personally engraved medal.
Joan said that she was supposed to go to the Mayor’s Parlour for the presentation of the medal, but he was taken ill and they didn’t go. However, she thankfully got the medal anyway and has kept it ever since. She also said that she received half a crown from the headmaster of Clarendon Street School, which was at the time for pupils aged five to fifteen, as a prize for winning the Salford 100s.
She also showed Elly another medal and some certificates which she received for Lifesaving in the late 1940s. She talked about learning to swim in school and out of school, and how the prize at swimming competitions was often a free swimming pass at the local pool – something she won a few times! This helped to plant a life-long love of swimming that she said continues to this day.
Elly was able to share her own passion for swimming as well. She trains five times a week and has competed at a county and national level.
It was great for Elly and Joan to meet and share their experiences of the same lifesaving competition, 68 years apart. Both were particularly interested to discover that the competition was basically unchanged and the lifesaving techniques that Elly has learned were very similar to the ones taught to Joan in the 1940s.
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