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Celebration of Manx Sporting Life in a new exhibition 1 April 2011

Empire Games Team 1958
The Isle of Man’s first British Empire & Commonwealth Games Team, 1958
Curators at Manx National Heritage have been busy collecting objects and stories for an ambitious new exhibition to be held at the Manx Museum. ‘Our Sporting Life – Celebrating the History and Diversity of Manx People in Sport’ will open in late August to coincide with launch of the Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games and will continue into 2012 to celebrate the London Olympic Games. The exhibition will form part of a nationwide museums and heritage initiative designed to celebrate and comprehensively record the history of British sport.

‘Our Sporting Life’ will celebrate the achievements of our modern sports stars, whilst also focusing upon historic Manx sporting heroes and events. The exhibition aims to salute all aspects of sport on and from the Isle of Man, from school sports through to world championship performances. It will examine our attitudes towards sport, looking at what inspires our sporting stars, what motivates ordinary people to go to extraordinary lengths for their sport and what sport actually means to each of us.

Over the past six months Manx National Heritage have been forging new relationships with the local sporting community, working closely with the Sports Development Unit, the Sports Council, the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association, along with many local sports clubs and athletes. MNH hopes to include the community as much as possible in the development of the exhibition and is asking you to get involved and share your sporting stories, photographs or memorabilia for use in the exhibition. You might even have the opportunity to shape the direction of the exhibition during its run, as the exhibition will be updated over the course of the sporting year to include stories gathered from the community. So whether you’re a budding athlete, a committed coach, a dedicated sports fan or have fond memories of schools sports day – MNH would like to hear from you. To submit your ‘sporting contribution’ Manx National Heritage have set up a survey at www.storyofmann.com or visit our Facebook page, alternatively email Katie King at katie.king@gov.im or call (01624) 648035.

Katie King, Community Outreach Officer commented:

“There is such a mind blowing amount of sport happening on our small Island and we hope to capture the spirit of this in the exhibition. The Isle of Man has produced many world champion standard athletes over the years and continues to do so. We will highlight many of these amazing sporting heroes in the exhibition, whilst also celebrating the Island’s vibrant community sporting scene. We would like to hear from anyone who has a story to contribute, so that we can build a picture of our sporting life on the Island. I would also like to thank the many athletes, clubs and sporting heroes who have contributed to our project so far.

The exhibition will begin in late August with a big focus on the Commonwealth Games but as the sporting year moves on we will be focusing on other sporting themes and events, such as the hugely popular Parish Walk and the End to End. We will also have some fun interactive games in the exhibition space where visitors will be able to test their fitness and reaction times and find out what it feels like to stand on an Olympic Podium!”

Stuart Slack 1958 Empire Games
Stuart Slack winning the Bronze medal in the 120 mile road race at the 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. This was the first medal won for the Isle of Man in what was to become known as the Commonwealth Games.

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