Boys Celebrate 100 Years of Gymnastics
Monday, 10 February 2014
The Challenge Cup for Gymnastics was first presented by Adam Fletcher Greenhalgh in 1914. Therefore with this year’s annual Year 7 competition, the Boys’ Division is celebrating the centenary of gymnastics in the school!
Seven boys from Year 7 were set to compete this year, and there was a definite air of excitement as the rest of their year-group assembled in the gym. These finalists were picked out as those who performed best in their gymnastics assessments earlier in the term. Each boy prepared a sequence based on floor work and performed a series of balances and travelling movements in front of their whole year group and PE staff.
With so many spectators, the pressure was on – but nonetheless the boys performed admirably. They were judged and marked on their sequences by PE staff, who finally decided to award first place and the trophy to Andrew Hurt. Cai Joseph came in second place, and Finlay Hanlon in third.
Old Boy George Farnworth returned to the school to award the medals and first place trophy. George joined Bolton School in 1942 at Beech House. He remained with the school all the way through to the Boys’ Division Senior School before leaving in 1957. During his time at the school, he was heavily involved in sports: he played for the 1st 15 Rugby squad, captained the Swimming team, and enjoyed competing with the Gymnastics team. In his final year he was given the additional responsibility of being a Monitor!
After leaving Bolton School, George went to Loughborough University to study P.E. He was conscripted into the army as part of compulsory National Service and eventually joined the Physical Training Corps. There he was fortunate enough to meet Nik Stuart, who was the British men's gymnastics champion for nine consecutive years from 1956 to 1964, and at the time was also a member of the APTC.
After handing out the prizes, George gave the assembled boys a short speech to congratulate the three winners. He told the boys that he once signed up to a gymnastics course in Loughborough after leaving the army. As part of this course, he was able to watch an inspirational gymnastics display by none other than Nik Stuart – who at the time was over 50 years old! Afterwards, the Head of P.E. at Loughborough College gave this piece of advice, which he passed on to the boys: “Remember: what you can do today, you can do tomorrow – as long as you remember to do it today.”
This is excellent advice which is applicable not only to gymnastics but, as George pointed out, to any area of life.
George also returned to the school on Friday to award prizes for the Year 8 Gymnastics Competition, which is judged on the boys' vaulting skills.