Daventry Athletics Club marks its 50th anniversary

The young Daventry team that won the Junior Trophy in the late 1970s; one of the photos that will be on display at Daventry Athletic Club's anniversary event.
The young Daventry team that won the Junior Trophy in the late 1970s; one of the photos that will be on display at Daventry Athletic Club's anniversary event.

One of Daventry’s most popular sports clubs is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Daventry Athletic Club was founded on April 7, 1965 following a public meeting at the old Scout Hut, on the Grammar School Playing Field in Daventry.

The driving force for this initial meeting was Roy Fenn who is still involved with the club and is the current president.

Other founder members were David Lake, Harry Barnsby, David Coombs, Denis McDonnell, Jack Thompson, Max Thompson, Bill Piercewright and Kenneth Walker.

The club’s first president was Henry Deterding.

In the early days the club was based at the Grammar School playing fields but the construction of Eastern Way and the roundabout at the eastern end of the road resulted in the loss of jumping pits and the club re-located to the Ashby Road playing field.

In 1977 the club moved once again to its present base at the Stefen Hill Sports Club and in 1980, following a great fund raising effort led by the club’s president Dr Dewi Roberts and chairman John Simmons, a new 400-metre track was opened which, at that time, was the best athletics facility in Northamptonshire.

Two years ago the facility was upgraded with a new 200-metre synthetic track.

Over 50 years hundreds of youngsters from Daventry and the surrounding villages have passed through the club.

Numerous local athletes have been crowned county champions and represented Northamptonshire at the pinnacle of schools athletics events, the English Schools Athletics Championships.

The club has also produced several international athletes including Maria Bellamy, Diane Fenn, Richard Haycock, Courtney Rumbolt, Stewart Faulkner, Chris Trotman, Ciaran McGuire, Pete Aldridge, Steve Lowe and Kieran Russ.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary the club is holding an open day at the newly-refurbished clubhouse at Stefen Hill Sports Club on Saturday, May 9, from 12.30pm to 5pm.

Anyone who has had an association with Daventry Athletic Club is invited to go along and have the opportunity to see photos, films, memorabilia and meet old acquaintances.

By Barry Fenn