This Saturday (8th October) saw the last of the season’s Community Events run by the City Council’s City of Sport team. Scheduled from May through to October, and mostly in local parks across the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, these were great events for local communities to come and have fun and try out the City of Sport adventure activities – variously (depending on the venue) climbing, kayaking, football, zorb ball, bouncy assault courses, and more.
Having had great success at a few events last year with our friends Emma Dawson Verughese and Charlie Walker – at the Middleport Park community fair; the Street Games festival at Northwood Stadium; and the Paralympic Carnival in Hanley – we decided to gear up for our own writing workshops and invested earlier this year in a Sporting Stories gazebo, picnic tables and chairs, stacks of writing and drawing paper and a mountain of pens, pencils and colouring crayons.
The weather wasn’t always conducive to a workshop – the wind is our greatest enemy with so much paper out on the tables, followed closely by the rain with so many works of art, stories and books lying around – but we had a great summer collecting art and writing on sport. Because the events we attended were pitched very much at families and children the average age of our contributors was probably around seven or eight. With parents very often sitting in and encouraging their children’s efforts, there was a real family feel to the workshops.
We couldn’t get to every City of Sport event, and one or two fell victim to the weather, but we also managed to fit in a couple of other events: Dragon Boat Racing in aid of the local Sailability group on Rudyard Lake; and Stanley Head Outdoor Education Centre’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Here are a few of our favourite images of authors, artists and their contributions from the events we did get to (and watch out for their work in our next volume of Sporting Stories!):