The LiveAge Festival is a celebration of creativity in later life in Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire.
To help celebrate local writing writing produced by some of our older contributors, we've brought together a selection of our favourite sporting stories
Click on the logo above to go to the main Festival site - there's lots on!
We lived in Ward Street and played where Northwood Stadium now is. We played every Sunday and met on Margaret Street at Barker's Pub and travelled all over the place including the area along Leek Road called 'The Steps' and Hanley Park. We called ourselves ‘The Ward Street Wanderers'.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet and become friends with some well-known wrestlers from around the country. I met many of them while they were working for Orig Williams from a base in Rhyl. Amongst my favourites were Might Chang, Klondyke Kate (who lives in Bentilee even as I type), Frank Cullen, Steve Peacock and Johnny Palance. My most favourite of all though was Klondyke Bill...
My favourite sport was netball and I played goal attack in the school team. I especially enjoyed the away trips and seeing the different schools. We had a blow-up giraffe as a mascot and kept it under the goal post.
The most famous person I have met is Prince Charles. He came to Northwood Stadium where we waited in line to meet him. When he reached me he asked what event I did? I replied that I was a coach and he said that he thought I was too old to be an athlete. I was in my forties!!!
When I was nine and at primary school, my dad took me to my first football match at the Victoria Ground, Stoke. There were no boys in our family but dad and I were close and often went on expeditions, so it was natural for him to include me in his football excursions. Sometimes we went on the train from our home in Meir, sometimes on the bus, and sometimes we cycled.
I didn’t mean to cycle from Land’s End to John O Groats. I foolishly told a cycling friend that I’d always wanted to do it when I was younger, and before I’d fully realised what was happening, we were planning to do it together in 2014. She was celebrating her 60th birthday, and at 68 I was just hoping to keep up.
To walk the mountains helps to make me whole,
shakes off the dust of daily work and strain,
invigorates my body and my soul.
My muscles and my sinews learn again
To work, obey demands not made this week
When I was at grammar school in the 1960s, I loved all sport. I was strong, with lots of energy, and as they say, it was a 'no-brainer' that I would be involved in every sport going. In an all girls school, it was so easy to take every opportunity offered. We hardly had any male teachers and certainly not for PE. It's funny but I don't remember any of the PE teachers but I do remember loving being part of a team.
Sporting Stories writes: Speedway doesn't feature on our list of sports (those which get you fitter through exercise) but Pat's beautifully written piece really captures the community spirit and sense of well-being which comes through participating in any sport, even as a spectator. If you've ever been to Speedway then you'll find this story wonderfully evocative. And the poems are perfect too...
Sporting Stories writes: Don Shelley's running career in North Staffordshire is worthy of a book in itself, starting as it did in 1954 when he won an inter-schools cross-country race and ending in 2010 when he finally retired from active sports administration. In between Don ran for the RAF, was secretary for the Michelin Sports & Social Club, founded the British Marathon Runners Club and the North Staffs Road Runners Association. In 1980 he became the first National Marathon Coach.