Swimmer's lucky bust on display

A SOUTH Yorkshire sporting hero is taking centre stage in a new exhibition which celebrates the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

For years, the bust of Thomas William Burgess, who swam the English Channel in September 1911, was on display in the Sheffield Road swimming baths in his home town of Rotherham.

It was supposedly good luck for those competing in galas at the venue to rub its nose before a race, but when the baths closed the bust was placed in storage.

Rotherham Council Collections Officer Karl Noble said: "Burgess really is one of those sporting greats whose name has slipped from the record books somewhat.

"But he was, without doubt, one of our local greats and we're glad to be able to celebrate him as such. He managed to cross the channel, which was an even more massive feat those days than it is now, at the 16th attempt."

The bust is part of a display of Rotherham Sporting Greats being held at Clifton Park Museum.