A running event inspired by the late Berry Brow-born Olympic athlete of the 1950s, Derek Ibbotson, is to be held in Huddersfield town centre.
Ibbotson famously set a new world mile record in London in 1957 clocking a time of three minutes 57.2 seconds.
In honour of what was dubbed “the Mile of the Century” – Huddersfield will host the George Hotel Mile to celebrate one of the town’s most famous sons.
The event will be one of a series of culture-based celebrations, events and activities organised by the Huddersfield HSHAZ Consortium, part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone.
The consortium has been awarded a £90,000 grant to bring community-led activities to the town centre over the next three years.
The consortium, led by theatre and arts company CHOL and supported by Kirklees Council, is made-up of local interest groups, businesses and community organisations.
Each year will have a theme, this year being Sport and Well-being to tie-in with the 2021 Rugby World Cup, which sees a match staged at the John Smith’s Stadium in November.
The theme for 2022 will be Arrivals, reflecting the diverse make-up of Huddersfield and, finally, 2023’s theme will be Music, to complement the Kirklees Year of Music.
The busiest month this year will be September to coincide with national Heritage Open Days. Events will include: The Woven Festival, local history walks and talks and a collection of ‘memories of the Square’. Events will culminate in a book, music, dance and theatre festival, in particular celebrating Huddersfield Carnival.
This year a small festival of running, walking and cycling is planned. Hi!HAZ Active will include: the George Hotel Mile and the Tour de HAZ, a cycling route taking in local points of history and interest.
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There will also be a celebration of the Rugby League World Cup, with the creation of a Carnival King costume that will feature at various events including one of the quarter-final games to be played in Huddersfield on November 12.
This programme of activities and events is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.
Vicky Storey, of consortium leaders CHOL, said: “The consortium is over the moon to have this opportunity to deliver an exciting and engaging community driven cultural programme in Huddersfield.
“This is a really unique opportunity for a range of heritage and cultural organisations to come together and develop a rich programme of activity exploring and celebrating the town centre’s past, present and future.”
David Shepherd, strategic director for growth and regeneration at Kirklees Council, said the council was delighted to give its support and added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit our high streets hard and this programme will help to breathe life back into them in a vibrant and energetic way.
“I look forward to visiting the town centre and taking part in lots of events.”
Ibbotson, who attended King James’s Grammar School in Almondbury and ran for Longwood Harriers, won an Olympic bronze medal in the 5,000m at the Melbourne Games of 1956.
Known as ‘Ibbo’, he was the first man to run a mile in exactly four minutes. It was after Sir Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four minute mile that Ibbotson succeeded him, setting a new world record with his “Mile of the Century.”
Ibbotson had dementia and died in 2017 aged 84.