Telford memorial planner for Chariots of Fire runner

A memorial to Chariots of Fire runner Harold Abrahams is to be built in Telford in celebration of his sporting connections with the town.

Telford memorial planner for Chariots of Fire runner

A memorial to Chariots of Fire runner Harold Abrahams is to be built in Telford in celebration of his sporting connections with the town.

The announcement was made last night at a red carpet charity screening of the Oscar-winning film which tells his inspirational life story.

The 1981 movie recalls how Abrahams and fellow runner Eric Liddell struck gold against the odds at the Paris Olympics. It is being re-released at cinemas this weekend as part of the build-up to the London games.

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Last night, the Odeon in Telford was one of seven British locations chosen to host a gala premiere of the film, with a live satellite link to the event in London, and interviews with members of the cast and crew.

Guests of honour in Telford was Harold Abrahams' adopted daughter Sue Pottle, and Mark Ryan, who has written his biography, Running With Fire.

Mike Lowe, chairman of the Community Foundation for Shropshire & Telford which organised the event in conjunction with Wenlock Olympian Society, revealed plans for a memorial to Abrahams in St Georges.

Just weeks before the Paris Olympics, Abrahams was at the Midland Area AAA Champions at St Georges Recreation Ground, winning gold in the 100 yard sprint.

Mr Lowe said: "The part played by St Georges Recreation Ground in Abrahams' success has been largely lost in the mists of time. In fact, it is probably Shropshire's best kept Olympic secret."

Last night's gala screening includes a performance of movie music in the Odeon foyer by the Abraham Darby Academy brass band.

Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson, speaking through the live satellite link, said he was 'very proud and very surprised' at the way the film was capturing people's imagination once more. The film goes on general release on Friday.

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