24/06/2011 - Permalink

New film uncovers secrets of Shropshire’s Olympian heritage

Related topics: Community / Leisure, culture and heritage

Shropshire Council has commissioned a new eight-minute film to highlight the county’s link with the heritage of the Olympic Games.

Funding for the film has been secured from the Rural Development Programme for England as part of a package of activities to promote tourism to the county ahead of the 2012 Games.

In the film BBCTV presenter Kate Bliss explores Much Wenlock and discovers the important role that local Doctor William Penny Brookes played in reviving the modern Olympic Games based on the traditions of the Greek Games.

The Doctor was concerned about the education and physical health of the local population and in 1850 staged the first Wenlock Olympian Games on the racecourse.  He was also responsible for helping bring the railway to the town and was a Justice of the Peace sitting at court in the ancient Guildhall.

Wenlock Olympian Society Publicity Officer Helen Clare-Cromarty was interviewed for the film and told Kate about the medals which were won by competitors in the Games.

The film was shot in HD by Silva Productions and may be seen on the Much Wenlock tourism website at www.muchwenlockguide.info.

Councillor Mike Owen, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for tourism, said;

“This is an excellent film that really helps to highlight Shropshire’s links with the modern Olympics.  I hope it will encourage people to visit Much Wenlock, and Shropshire, in the run up to London 2012.”

Milner Whiteman, Shropshire Councillor for Much Wenlock, said:

“This film will show how the modern Olympic Games were inspired by Dr William Penny Brookes of Much Wenlock.  I hope it will encourage many people to visit Much Wenlock and Shropshire, before, during and after the Olympic Games which are being held in 2012 in England.”

The 2012 Games mascot has been named Wenlock in honour of the town’s role in reviving the Olympic Games and the film brings the story to life showing many of the locations associated with Doctor William Penny Brookes.

A new biography of Dr. Brookes – ‘Born Out of Wenlock’ – has just been written by author Catherine Beale and in it she brings to light a lot of new information about this influential man.