Leeds City AC Celebrate 50 Years
On the 17thNovember 2017, a fantastic event took place at the Queen’s Hotel in the city centre of Leeds. Almost 200 people gathered for a celebration evening to mark the 50th anniversary of Leeds City Athletic Club and to recognise the role that it has played and continues to play in promoting sport, health and wellbeing for all in Leeds, whilst producing multiple international athletics stars along the way!
The night opened with a welcome speech from the current Chairman, Ian Cooke, reflecting on the size and diversity of the club with almost 400 members actively participating across all areas of track and field athletics, wheelchair racing and endurance running, both on the roads and in cross-country events. Ian also reflected on the current pinnacle of success for the club, with 9 members gaining first-time international vests for England and Great Britain in the current year and also the fact that Leeds City AC’s very own Hannah Cockroft took a clean sweep of gold medals at the recent Para Athletics 2017 World Championships. This is in addition to the fantastic Claire Duck being chosen as team captain for the GB squad at the 2017 World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala in March.
A really strong theme for the night was the long and proud heritage of the club, dating back well over 100 years through its predecessor clubs, Harehills Harriers, Leeds St Mark’s and Leeds Athletic Club. To bring this to life, Mike Baxter, an ex-international elite runner from Leeds City AC and a member since the founding of the club, gave a fascinating presentation on the brief history of the club, bringing it to life with the many characters that have supported, driven and represented the club over the years. Phil Townsend, Endurance Senior Coach and Steve Linsell, Club President, then continued this theme, before handing across to the world star performer that is Hannah Cockroft.
At the age of 25, Hannah has won 10 world titles, holds 5 world records across all the events in which she competes and has amassed 5 paralympic gold medals whilst being a proud member of Leeds City AC. Hannah gave a talk on her early life, her approach to sport and her many achievements, that left the audience absolutely spellbound and resulted in a standing ovation from everyone in the room. Leeds City Athletic Club is very fortunate to have such a shining ambassador for sport as Hannah and are very grateful that Hannah was able to attend as a proud club member.
Woven into this series of speeches, presentations and social get-togethers, there was also a prestigious awards evening and parade of all club members gaining international honours for the first time. The awards are hard earned and well deserved and gave everyone an opportunity to applaud and celebrate those top performers and contributors within the club. So here’s to the next 50 years and a great testament to a vibrant, growing club at the heart of Leeds, with members of all levels of sporting success. The club is also for everyone with sport in their heart, old, young, male, female, wheelchair racers, sprinters, runners, jumpers and throwers!
Ian Cooke – Chairman – Leeds City Athletic Club
For more information on Leeds City AC, visit their website – http://leedscityac.org/wordpress/