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Why Jackie Turner Never Became a World Champion

spikesI attended up until the age of eleven, Grecian Street School. Sports day was, for me, a special event, even though I was not particularly good at sports. The sports ground only a couple of blocks away from the school. One particular 'Sports Day' has stayed in my memory. At that time I was ten years of age. Jackie turner was in my class. He broke a record and was without doubt a potential record breaker.

The event was the One Hundred Yards Sprint. The image remains in my mind even now. Jackie Turner, on the starting line, the starting gun was fired, Jackie Turner was streaking toward the tape, well along the track, before the other competitors barely gone more than a few yards. Jackie Turner's time was less than fourteen seconds, remarkable for an ten year old boy.

Later, back at school and assembly, The Headmaster, Mr Small, made a huge gleeful fuss about this sporting achievement. So what happened to Jackie Turner? The answer, so far as I am aware, just one word - nothing, Just a young boy, of no importance, coming from the terraced houses of Salford.

Grecian Street School had an unusual social mix. There were a significant number children whose parents were professional people, or at the very least, educated, books and culture, Mike Leigh, the film director was a pupil at Grecian Street. A school friend, Anthony Lighthill, suddenly said goodbye and left to go to Manchester Grammar School. There were other similar notable transitions. For, me, even at that young age, I became well aware, that for most of my contemporaries, and the children with special talents and ability, loomed, the ever present reality of unequal opportunity.