Sportsmen

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister
1929 -
English track and field athlete

Bannister was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. He achieved this feat at Oxford, England, on 6 May 1954, in a time of 3 min 59.4 sec.

Studying at Oxford to be a doctor at the time, Bannister broke the four-minute barrier on one more occasion: at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada, when he was involved with John Landy (1930- ) from Australia, in the `Mile of the Century´, so called because it was a clash between the only two people to have broken the four-minute barrier for the mile at that time. Bannister was Knighted in 1975.

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Denise Caffari
1974 -
English Yachtswoman. 

Dee started her career as a secondary school PE teacher, but after spending some time travelling the world, she returned to the UK to take up a job with Mike Golding Yacht Racing. 

During the Global Challenge 2004/5, Dee successfully skippered 18 amateur yachtsmen around the world, sailing the same 72ft yacht which she will use to attempt this solo circumnavigation. Dee was the only female skipper in the race and proved herself more than capable of handling the physical and mental demands of directing the amateur crew for up to six weeks at a time over seven gruelling legs. 

On the 21st May 2006, Dee sailed back into Southampton after 6 months at sea alone. Having set a new World Record and become the first woman in history to sail single-handed, non-stop, west about the globe, against the prevailing winds and currents.

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Sir Malcolm Campbell
1885-1948

British corporation director and automobile racer, born in Chislehurst, Kent, England, and educated in Uppingham and abroad. He was prominent in the business world of England as a director and officer in a number of corporations, but he is known in the United States chiefly for the world speed records he set, beginning in the 1920s, in his specially constructed racing cars on the flat sands in Daytona Beach, Florida, and on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. He was knighted in 1931. Campbell is the author of Speed (1931), The Romance of Motor-Racing (1936), The Roads and the Problem of Their Safety (1937), and Drifting to War (1937).

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John (Rhodes) Cobb
1899-1952
British racing driver.

He broke the world land-speed record in 1938, 1939, and 1947, setting a personal best time of 634.37 km/h (394.19 mph). He attempted to break the world water-speed record on Loch Ness in Scotland in 1952. On his first run he became the first person to break the 200 mph barrier on water, averaging 332.95 km/h (206.89 mph) for a mile, but shortly afterwards he was killed when his jet-powered boat crashed.

Cobb began racing in 1925 and soon established himself as one of the stars of the Brooklands circuit, repeatedly setting new lap records. After breaking every world record between one hour and 24 hours he turned his attention towards breaking the world land-speed record. In 1938, at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, he set a new mark of 563.58 km/h (350.20 mph) in his Napier-Railton Mobil Special. The previous record holder, fellow British driver George Eyston, then regained the record with a speed of 575.330 km/h (357.493 mph), but in 1939, Cobb set a speed of 595.02 km/h (369.74 mph). In 1947, when he raised the record once more, he managed to reach a speed of over 400 mph in one direction.

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Wally (Walter Reginald) Hammond
1903-1965
English cricketer.

One of the game's greatest players, between 1927 and 1947 he scored 7,249 test runs at an average of 58.45, including 22 centuries. The first test cricketer to reach both 6,000 and 7,000 test runs, he led the English first class averages for eight consecutive seasons, 1933-39 and 1946. He was also a good medium-fast bowler and a brilliant slip fielder. He was born in Dover, and made his first class debut for Gloucestershire in 1920 at the age of 17. From 1927, the year he made his first test appearance, to 1939 he was the dominant batsman in English cricket. In Australia between 1928-29, he made the record English test aggregate, 905 runs (at an average of 113.12) including two successive double centuries and a century in each innings of the fourth test. His 336 not out against New Zealand at Auckland 1933, was then the record individual test score.

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Amy Johnson
1903-1941
Pioneer Airwoman.

Amy Johnson was born July 1, 1903, in Hull Yorkshire and lived there until she went to Sheffield University in 1923 to read for a BA. After graduating, she moved on to work as a secretary to a London solicitor where she also became interested in flying. Amy began to learn to fly at the London Aeroplane Club in the winter of 1928-29 and her hobby soon became an all-consuming determination, not simply to make a career in aviation, but to succeed in some project which would demonstrate to the world that women could be as competent as men in a hitherto male dominated field. Amy set off alone in a single engine Gypsy Moth from Croydon on May 5, 1930, and landed in Darwin on May 24, an epic flight of 11,000 miles. She was the first woman to fly alone to Australia. In July 1931, she set an England to Japan record in a Puss Moth with Jack Humphreys. In July 1932, she set a record from England to Capetown, solo, in a Puss Moth. In May, 1936, she set a record from England to Capetown, solo, in a Percival Gull, a flight to retrieve her 1932 record.

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Ellen MacArthur
1977 -
English Yachtswoman.

Born in Derbyshire, Ellen MacArthur had the desire to become a yachtswoman at a very early age, even saving her school dinner money to save for her first boat. After setting sailing records around Britain's coast she entered for the world's toughest race - the 2000 Vendee Globe. Between 2000 and 2001 MacArthur spent 94 days at sea tackling the icy Southern Ocean, the treacherous Cape Horn and the expanse of the Atlantic, sleeping in bursts of 15 minutes at a time.
Ellen's epic journey was a record breaker. She was the fastest woman to sail around the globe. She was the youngest ever finisher in the Vendee race and she was only the second person to sail round the world solo in less than 100 days - the first woman. On January 29 for one day, the relatively inexperienced MacArthur, actually took a slim lead, and became the first woman ever to be a leader in the race. Before the forestay snapped, MacArthur had to spend the night of January 30 changing her port daggerboard with the starboard one after it hit a submerged container. She eventually captured second place in the Vendee Globe Race.

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George Herbert Leigh Mallory
1886 - 1924
English mountain climber.

After some spectacular ascents in the Alps, he participated in the Everest expeditions of 1921, 1922, and 1924. The 1924 expedition culminated in a bold and possibly successful drive toward the summit by Mallory and Andrew Irvine, from which they did not return; Mallory's body was discovered on Everest in 1999. Mallory's intelligence, resolution, and superb leadership, together with the mystery surrounding his final effort, have made his name legendary among mountaineers.

George Mallory, 38 and Andrew Irvine, 22 disappeared on their way to the summit. They were last spotted by a member of the expedition, who reported they "were going strong for the top." Whether they reached the summit remains a mystery.

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Sir Stanley Matthews CBE
1915 - 2000
World's Greatest Footballer

The son of Hanley's famous boxing-barber, Jack Matthews, Stan was the greatest footballer the world has ever seen. Born in Hanley, on leaving school he did general office work, while also on the ground staff at the Victoria Ground. He turned professional on his 17th birthday, having represented England at schoolboy level in 1929. He made his League debut for Stoke on March 19, 1932. Occupying the right-wing position throughout his career both as a club player and England international, he won the first of his 54 full England caps in September 1934 (Wales), scoring in the 4-0 win at Cardiff. During World War Two, Matthews appeared in 24 wartime and five Victory internationals, and also represented the Football League, the Football League XI and the FA XI. His first stay at Stoke ended in 1947, when, aged 32, he moved to Blackpool for £11,500. There he helped them to with the FA Cup in 1953, and scored 17 goals in 379 appearances for the Seasiders before returning to Stoke City in October, 1961, for a fee of £2,500. Matthews was 46 years old at the time, yet he still went on to play for a further four years for The Potters. Promotion was gained back into the First Division in 1963 and two years later on February 6, 1965, just five days after his 50th birthday, he retired from competitive football with well over 800 games under his belt, 701 in the Football League (332 with Stoke and 369 for Blackpool). His record at Stoke is 355 senior appearances and 62 goals. He is the oldest player ever to win a full England cap, aged 42 years, 103 days. He was knighted in 1965, having received the CBE nine years earlier). After leaving Stoke, Matthews toured the world, coaching in many countries including the Far East. In 1967-68 he returned to manage Port Vale, before going to live in Malta, where he took charge of Hibernians. He later lived in Canada before returning to the Potteries in the late 1980s to live. In 1989 he was appointed president of Stoke City Football Club. He was presented with the Midlands Sports Personality of the Year in 1994.

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Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave
1962 -
English oarsman.

Probably the greatest Olympian ever, Redgrave was Gold medallist at five successive Olympics in the physically demanding sport of Rowing, winning the coxed fours in 1984 and the coxless pairs in 1988 and 1992. He also won four gold medals at the World Championships 1986-93, gold at the World Indoor Championships in 1991, and was a member of the winning four-man bobsleigh team at the national bobsleigh championships in 1989. He won the coxless pairs for the UK with Matthew Pinsent at the world championships in 1991, 1993-95, and the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, becoming only the fourth person to win gold medals at four consecutive Olympics. Together with Matthew Pinsent, he was a member of the British coxless fours team which won a gold medal at the final of the inaugural World Cup Regatta in 1997. He completed his fifth Olympic title win in Sydney in 2000 in the Coxless fours and was subsequently knighted.

Olympic games gold: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000

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Jim Shekhdar
1946 -

Born on 13th November 1946 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, Jim Shekhdar qualified as a Civil Engineer in 1970 at London University. He was involved in the building of the M4 motorway in Berkshire before emigrating to Australia in 1971 where he was involved with the maintenance of 200 miles of coast line at the northern end of New South Wales. In 1972 he moved to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea as a roadbuilder and in 1973 to build Airports in Zaire. He then moved in 1976 to the United Arab Emerates and to New Zealand in 1980. He then changed career paths to computers before taking on the biggest challenge of his life.
On the 29th June 2000 Jim Shekhdar set off from Peru aboard 'Le Shark' in an attempt to become the first person to row across the Pacific Ocean. On 30th March 2001, after 273 days, 13 hours and 12 minutes, he succesfully completed the crossing when he reached Australia.

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