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Sporting stars prepare to enter Hall of Fame

Three more sporting champions will be immortalised in Wolverhampton's Hall of Fame next month.

Liz Brown, Helen Lower and Michael Ayre, who have represented the city with distinction in the sports of squash, table tennis and swimming respectively, will be inducted into the Sporting Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Aldersley Leisure Village on Saturday 21 September, 2013.

Wolverhampton has developed a reputation of producing competitors of national and international standard in a wide variety of sports.

The Wolverhampton Sporting Hall of Fame was launched in 1999 by Wolverhampton City Council and Wolverhampton City Sports Advisory Council to provide a fitting and lasting tribute to their performances on a national and international stage.

Liz Brown, a member of Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, represented her country at squash at Masters level.

In 1999, she won gold in the World Squash Masters' over 40s competition and was the British Masters champion in over 40s and 45s on no less than 6 occasions between 1998 and 2006.

Helen Lower represented England at table tennis on more than 100 occasions, winning 17 national titles.

She competed at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006, as well as the European Championships in Eindhoven in 1998, where her team scooped a bronze medal.

Since retiring Helen, who is a member of Woodfield Table Tennis Club, has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in elite coaching practice.

Michael Ayre's achievements as a swimming coach have helped put Wolverhampton on the map. He was appointed to the Wulfrun Squad in 1974, coaching a number of local swimmers to national and international success.

His talents were recognised as he was appointed Assistant Coach for England's visit to Switzerland in 1975. He produced further national champions over the coming years, with Robin Brew winning silver for Scotland at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

Robin and fellow swimmer Ian Collins were then selected to represent Great Britain in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Oxley Park Golf Club will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame as the latest Wolverhampton club or association to reach its 100th anniversary.

The club was founded on 16 September, 1913, and has produced a string of top players over the years, including Bob Bishop who played in 5 Open Championships, the Amateur Championship and the Senior Open, and represented Staffordshire 37 times.

Mayor Councillor Jaspal said: "Wolverhampton has developed a reputation of producing competitors of national and international standard in a wide variety of sports, and we've now recognised more than 50 of them by inducting them in the Sporting Hall of Fame.

"I am delighted that we will soon be adding the names of Liz Brown, Helen Lower and Michael Ayre to this prestigious list. They have worked tirelessly to make it to the very top of their respective professions and their achievements deserve to be immortalised in this way.

"I am also pleased that Oxley Park Golf Club is being recognised with a place in the Hall of Fame, joining the growing list of clubs and associations that have reached their centenary."

Peter Holmes MBE added: "I am always so proud when I present my citations for individuals and centenary clubs to be considered for the Hall of Fame.

"These sporting stars have dominated a world stage, either by playing or coaching, and have been wonderful role models for youngster generations."

The Sporting Hall of Fame features a leather-bound book containing pictures and profiles of more than 50 sportsmen and women from the worlds of golf, cycling, football, gymnastics, judo, cricket, athletics, rugby, boxing, power and weight lifting, motorsport, roller hockey, karate, shooting, horse racing, squash and speedway.

Their names are also inscribed on plaques at Aldersley Leisure Village, as well as the details of 18 local sports clubs - soon to be 19 with the addition of Oxley Park - which have reached their centenary in recent years.

  • released: Friday 9 August, 2013