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Sporting exhibition opens - minus a star from the past

Friday, 6th January 2012.

A new exhibition of Haverhill history to mark Olympics year has opened at the town's Arts Centre bistro.

Haverhill and District Local History Group have put together a series of displays about sport within the town, in particuloar within the last 200 years.

It includes photographs from the 1800s down to the present day, covering participants in all forms of sport.

But members were surprised to discover at the launch of the exhibition yesterday evening that the town's only Olympic gold medal winner had been left out.

The group'spresident, Christopher Gurteen revealed that his uncle had won a gold medal in the 4X400m relay at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, and was living at Coupals, a large, now demolished, house in Coupals Road, at the time.

Although the house was just in Sturmer, it made him the nearest thing to a Haverhill Olympic gold winner.

Mr Gurteen's uncle was Gordon Rampling, who married his aunt Anne Gurteen, and whose daughter Charlotte has become a famous screen actress, appearing in Haverhill most recently to open the Spirit of Enterprise roundabout sculpture.

Mr Gurteen told the history group members and guests at the launch event how Gordon Rampling ran the second leg for the British team in a race which was full of expectation for a German win in front of Adolf Hitler and the German Reich leaders.

He took over the baton some 15m down, Mr Gurteen said, and passed it on five metres up, a lead the other two runners managed to hold on to.

Mr Gurteen said: "He did it without training. His idea of training was to run once around his field."

Mr Rampling died two years ago, but Mr Gurteen had photos and articles about him which he will make available to the group so they can add a piece about him to the exhibition.

Earlier, the group's chairman, Roy Brazier, established he was the only person in the room who had attended an Olympics, in London in 1948 when he saw Denmark play Sweden in a football match at Wembley.

Mr Brazier said it was good the Olympoc torch would be visiting Haverhill, but a pity that there would not be a Haverhill person carrying it.

He and Mr Gurteen thanked history group members for the huge amount of work which they had put into getting the exhibition ready.

It is now open to the public, and Mr Gurteen described it as 'a wonderful record for the town'.

Haverhill Online News

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