The Olympics end today giving me an opportunity to remember a young woman, raised in the London Borough of Ealing. At the age of nineteen Lillian Board won a silver medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics for the 400m race and followed this up with two gold medals at the European Championships in 1969. She was made an MBE in 1970 for services to sport but, sadly, Lillian’s life ended that year after she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. There is another street named after her in the area surrounding the Munich Stadium, built for the 1972 Olympics which she didn’t live to participate in.
Lilian Board Way runs through a small housing development which was probably built in the 1980’s. The choice of street names is explained by its being close to the Ealing Northern Sports Centre. One is named after Lillian’s contemporary and fellow 1968 Olympian David Hemery. Others bear the names of cricketers Harold Larwood, Sir Alec Bedser and Patsy Hendren, footballers Eddie Hapgood, Sir Alf Ramsey and “the wizard of the dribble” Sir Stanley Matthews, athletes Sir Roger Bannister, Tessa Sanderson CBE, Dame Mary Peters DBE and Chris Brasher CBE. Even veteran BBC sports journalist Peter Dimmock CBE gets a mention. I wonder how many of those who live in these streets remember who these people are? Whoever put up the latest street sign couldn’t even get the spelling of her name right.
If you have an interest in sport I recommend a blog by a fellow west Londoner, “Thoughts from West Five”, who also touches on music, the universe and everything.
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