The best evening ever...

Peter enjoying a joke with Anthony Munday, the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent (and contributor to Sporting Stories 2016) at the January launch of the new book

Peter enjoying a joke with Anthony Munday, the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent (and contributor to Sporting Stories 2016) at the January launch of the new book

One of the joys of this job (publishing writing about sport) is that I'm constantly bombarded with stories from all directions, depending on the individual projects I'm working on at any particular time. In the latter part of 2016 that list of projects included Sporting Stories, our main project about Stoke-on-Trent European City of Sport; the Potters 'Arf, our book on the 2016 race; a forthcoming book on the Cat & Fiddle cycle challenge; a Sporting Futures schools project with St Joseph's College in Trent Vale, Stoke; and a nascent swimming poetry book with Hillside Primary School in Baddelely Green, Stoke-on-Trent. So I hope you'll forgive the hiatus in blog posts here!

I made several New Year resolutions this year, principal of which was to never again be publishing two books simultaneously over the Christmas and New Year period - which is exactly what I managed to do a few weeks back. Our Potters 'Arf book came out on 23rd December (and I sold the first dozen at a Christmas Eve run!) and the Sporting Stories book went to the printers on 10th January and appeared just (literally just) in time for its major launch event, which we put on in the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery with the help of the City of Sport team at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The guest of honour at the launch was the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Anthony Munday, who gave a lovely speech about sport in the city and how the Sporting Stories book was making an important contribution by capturing and publishing inspiring stories that might not otherwise be heard.  With about 120 guests in the Museum, including nearly 40 contributors to the book, it was a wonderful occasion.  The thing that made it really special for me was the sight of so many people going round the room collecting signatures of authors for their copy of the book. With over 80 authors in total in Sporting Stories that may be a labour of love, but what a great way for people to meet and chat with our sporting heroes, be they world record holders or someone who just loves their chosen sport. I hope the pictures below give an idea of just what a great evening it was.

Now the work starts on this year's collection of stories!

The book itself! Buy it  here...

The book itself! Buy it here...


An agglomeration of authors in the Spitfire Gallery! Roughly half of the contributors to Sporting Stories, including (back row second from left) Gaz Williams, who created the beautiful cover artwork

An agglomeration of authors in the Spitfire Gallery! Roughly half of the contributors to Sporting Stories, including (back row second from left) Gaz Williams, who created the beautiful cover artwork


Nicola (Potters 'Arf half marathon finisher) and Mo (GB international, wheelchair basketball) sharing stories. Just behind Nicola are Liz   (ultrarunner and Hanley parkrun organiser), chatting to Jenny Booth (paralympian gold medallist swimmer and world record holder). That's what the room was like - heroes everywhere you looked!

Nicola (Potters 'Arf half marathon finisher) and Mo (GB international, wheelchair basketball) sharing stories. Just behind Nicola are Liz (ultrarunner and Hanley parkrun organiser), chatting to Jenny Booth (paralympian gold medallist swimmer and world record holder). That's what the room was like - heroes everywhere you looked!


Gianni, rising triathlon star, and his story

Gianni, rising triathlon star, and his story


With Jean Gough, daughter of Sir Stanley Matthews and contributor of a lovely story about growing up with a world famous dad. Behind Jean is Ant Bunn, editor of DUCK magazine and contributor of one of the book's most moving stories, about his father's love for Stoke City FC

With Jean Gough, daughter of Sir Stanley Matthews and contributor of a lovely story about growing up with a world famous dad. Behind Jean is Ant Bunn, editor of DUCK magazine and contributor of one of the book's most moving stories, about his father's love for Stoke City FC


Ron, lifelong Stoke City fan, with a copy of his photo from the book

Ron, lifelong Stoke City fan, with a copy of his photo from the book


Zoe, sea-kayaker, and friend (the guy in the canoe in the image from the book!)

Zoe, sea-kayaker, and friend (the guy in the canoe in the image from the book!)


Craig, StokeFIT runner, Vale supporter and author, with a great Potteries medal collection!

Craig, StokeFIT runner, Vale supporter and author, with a great Potteries medal collection!


Zara, an inspirational triathlete and author of a great sporting story, with her own greatest hero - her mum!

Zara, an inspirational triathlete and author of a great sporting story, with her own greatest hero - her mum!


Sharing a joke with Simon, a local cartoonist whose work features in the book

Sharing a joke with Simon, a local cartoonist whose work features in the book

Glenn and family - all stars of his story about the 2012 Olympic flame

Glenn and family - all stars of his story about the 2012 Olympic flame


Meg and her wonderful poem about dance

Meg and her wonderful poem about dance

And Meg again, on the autograph trail with the Lord Mayor!

And Meg again, on the autograph trail with the Lord Mayor!


Two of our work experience students, experts in copy typing and editing! Natalia from Newcastle-under-Lyme College (L) and Katie, Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College (R)

Two of our work experience students, experts in copy typing and editing! Natalia from Newcastle-under-Lyme College (L) and Katie, Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College (R)


Erin (on right) - rising cycling star, Cat & Fiddle Challenge completer and author - with her family (cyclists all!)

Erin (on right) - rising cycling star, Cat & Fiddle Challenge completer and author - with her family (cyclists all!)


Gemma, ice-skating contributor, with daughter Lucie - pictured with her friend Sienna-Ray at our Middleport workshop in the summer

Gemma, ice-skating contributor, with daughter Lucie - pictured with her friend Sienna-Ray at our Middleport workshop in the summer