Retro: Sheffield snapshot from July 1991

Norfolk Sec School Protest against Closure 10 July  1991

Norfolk Sec School Protest against Closure 10 July 1991

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No doubt Christmas and New Year has brought many people together for rendezvous with long-lost colleagues from previous jobs and maybe friends from university, college or schooldays.

So I thought it would be a nice idea to delve back into the Star’s archives – back in fact to July 1991 – and pull out some stories and pictures from that period.

Then, if you are depicted in one of the pictures or featured in a story it will provide another talking point – not to mention a laugh and a joke – with friends at your get-togethers.

Having a picture taken by a professional Star photographer and then printed in a newspaper is quite an accolade. Those depicted - or the parents of those depicted - usually buy a dozen copies to send to relatives or a tuck away as part of the family treasures.

Also, a picture in a newspaper is guaranteed to bring an individual instant recognition on the street, at work or in the pub. In the event that a reader is seen in one of the pictures here, I hope that time has not been too unkind to them and they enjoy reliving their appearance in The Star almost 25 years ago.

Looking back to July 1991, I quickly realised it was quite a busy month for individual activities, such as walking hundreds of miles carrying a hod, protesting about school closures, celebrating the opening of the World Student Games and much, much more.

Finally, let us know if you have any other pictures or stories to share from any period in the past.

Hod carrier Brian

On July 4, 1991, under a heading Caring Brian’s a real brick, it was revealed that Brian Fletcher had stepped his way into the record books when he put his best foot forward for charity.

Deciding to carry a hod full of bricks from Lands End to John O’Groats, he raised £4,000 for Childline. And when the 36-day hike ended, locals greeted him with cheers, bagpipes and the news that he was the first person to complete the trek carrying a hod.

“I ache and am tired but it has been well worth it,” assured Brian of Wortley Road, High Green. “As well as having my own three children I am a foster parent and I see at first hand the problems they encounter – it seemed natural to do something to help.”

Pupils are world class

During early July, Pipworth Middle School youngsters were among 400 pupils from eight schools in Sheffield given free tickets for the World Student Games by Sheffield Polytechnic.

Polytechnic bosses had joined the Games Cheerleader scheme, in which businesses and organisations could buy children’s tickets to enable youngsters to see some of the sports during the Games.

Pipworth teacher Jane Hamilton said: “Some of the children used to live at Hyde Park flats, which is being used for the athletes village.”

The polytechnic, an official sponsor of the games media centre, was preparing for an influx of 800 journalists from throughout the world during the sports event.

Night to remember for John Gray

On Wednesday July 3, 1991 the official opening of the new bar and renovated pavilion at Upper Haugh Cricket Club took place. It was given a champagne start when Derbyshire provided the opposition to the local cricket club at their Rawmarsh Ground.

It was also a night remember for 12-year-old Haugh youngster John Gray, who was called on to make up the County XI and got on to bowl as well, Derbyshire skipper Peter Bowler entering into the spirit of the evening by giving the delighted youngster five overs against the South Riding League hosts.

A crowd of more than 500 saw Bowler make a half-century as Derbyshire totalled 158-7 and Haugh replied with 122-7, John Westwood hitting 42.

Young ready to fly high

On July 5, pupils from Hemsworth Junior and Infant School in Sheffield had their heads firmly in the clouds as they waited for windy weather.

They were among the hundreds of city children who had been making kites ready for the next day’s Cultural Festival aerial extravaganza at Concord Park.

All they were hoping for was a stiff breeze after experts from the Flight Fantastic company gave then lessons in the ancient aerial art.

Big send-off for Cultural Festival

On Saturday July 6 the children’s section of the World Student Games Cultural Festival got off to a flying start when 25,000 multi-coloured balloons were released from Tudor Square in Sheffield city centre.

Although storm clouds had covered the city earlier in the day, glorious sunshine broke through later on as 1,200 schoolchildren paraded through the streets in an event watched by TV personality Michaela Strachan and Lord Mayor Coun Doris Askham.

Both young and old participated in the parade, with sword dancers, Morris and clog dancers, majorettes, bagpipers and floats accompanying youngsters from all over the city. Then as the procession entered Tudor Square, it was transformed into a humming, colourful and noisy spectacle.

Saturday’s event marked the start of a cultural bonanza, not only because of the opening of the World Student Games, but it signalled the start of a vast programme of events by entertainers from around the globe.

School closure protest goes to the top

News splashed across The Star’s front page on Wednesday July 10 stated that representatives of Sheffield schools facing closure and merger were set to travel to London to ask Education Secretary of State Kenneth Clarke for a reprieve.

On the same day campaigners mounted a lobby of a special meeting of Sheffield City Council. Seven schools were to be axed and more than 40 others amalgamated – and the controlling Labour group warned more may follow. Pupils, staff and parents were pictured rotesting outside closure-threatened Norfolk Secondary School.

Sky’s the limit as show lifts off

Pupils at Sheffield’s Birkdale Preparatory School brought a climax to the summer term by staging a rock ‘n’ roll musical Blast Off.

Around 60 boys and staff put on four sold-out nights of a play by Tom Stainer and Jim Parker, which featured teacher Keith Allchin in a lead role.

Produced by Ann Bacon and Hilary Mason, the show told how a headmaster tried to save reputation of his school by blasting an expedition into space.

The production was given added lift by a raucous rock ‘n’ roll band drawn from members of the staff common room.

A tall story from land of the giants

One Sheffield youngster seemed determined to get to the bottom of a very tall story as she greeted the Catalan giants in early July 1991.

The towering figures from the Catalan region of Spain brought a splash of European colour to Tudor Square as they went through their paces for the city’s Cultural Festival.

The four giants – tradition dictates that they must always travel in pairs – are popular figures in Catalan folklore, dating back to the Middle Ages, when they were used to tell Bible stories.

Their religious significance may have been lost in time but their performance was hailed as one of the towering successes of the festival.

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