The great coronation festival of sport

WOKING was the stage for a huge sports event to celebrate the Queen’s coronation.

Reported as the town’s “greatest ever games festival” Woking Coronation Sports took place on 6 June 1953 – four days after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

REWARD: The front side of a bronze medal issued to competitors at Woking’s coronation sports event

News & Mail reader Martin Keys has a commemorative medal from the event. He wonders whether all the medals showed two runners, or if different ones were made for different sports? Other sports at the festival included bowls, boxing and a swimming gala.

Were all the medals bronze? Were they given to all participants as a memento of the day?

The Woking Opinion newspaper reported the event that took place in Woking Park. The programme of athletics lasted for nearly four hours.

Athletic awards up for grabs were the Woking Coronation Trophy for men and another for women, plus the annual Woking Service of Youth Challenge Cup, for affiliated organisations.

The reverse of the medal, etched with the year and name of the event

Six athletic clubs contested the two Coronation Trophey competitions. They were Woking, Dorking St Paul’s, Kent, Hermes, Epsom & Ewell Harriers and Basingstoke.

Woking AC was pipped to both awards, finishing second to Dorking AC in the men’s section and runners-up to Epsom & Ewell in the women’s event.

The Rt Hon Lord Aberdare CBE presented the medals, certificates and trophies. Do any other Peeps readers have one of these medals?

If you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call me, David Rose, on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

For more memories and details of Woking past, including a a trip down Vale Farm Road in the 1940s, see the 18 February edition of the News & Mail

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at: davidrosemedia@gmail.com

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