ARTHUR WINT COMMEMORATIVE BLUE PLAQUE AND UK BOOK LAUNCH
On Friday 19th October 2012 a blue heritage plaque organized by the Nubian Jak Community Trust, and the British launch of a book based on the life of Arthur Wint will take place in his honour. By all accounts Arthur Wint was an extraordinary human being whose list of achievements reads as if it was written for a Hollywood screen blockbuster.
He was born in Plowden Hill, in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, in 1920, and attended Calabar High School and Excelsior College. It didn’t take long for his teachers and peers to discover that he had a remarkable talent for Track and Field athletics.
At the age of 22 he went to Canada to train as a pilot. His reason – to assist Britain in its military efforts during WW2. Whilst there he set the Canadian 400m record, before moving to Britain and joining the RAF. He was one of only a small group of Caribbean pilots who took to the skies in Spitfire Aircrafts, and eventual rose to the rank of flight lieutenant. After the war ended Arthur decided to pursue a career in medicine and became a medical student at London’s St. Bartholomew’s hospital in 1947.
However, his love for track and field never waned and a year later at the 1948 Olympic Games Arthur Wint achieved global fame by becoming the first Jamaican athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, equaling the Olympic record for the 400m (46.2 seconds). In 1949 he married Norma Dorothea Marsh, and three years later was part of the historic 4x400m relay team that won Olympic gold in Helsinki by setting a new World Record.
He retired from athletics a year later, finished his internship and graduated as a doctor. In 1954 was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. Arthur returned to Jamaica, but then returned to England where he studied surgery at Manchester University. He later settled in Hanover as the only resident doctor in the parish. He was awarded the Jamaican honour of the Order of Distinction in 1973, and in 1974 became the country’s high commissioner to Great Britain. He passed away on 19th October in 1992, Heroes Day and was given an official state funeral attended by people from all over the World.
The blue plaque unveiling and UK book launch by his daughter Valerie will take place exactly 20 years to the day he died. Arthur Wint is survived by his wife Norma, and three daughters, Valerie, Alison and Coleen.
WHEN:- Friday 19th October 2012 at 12:00 pm and -13:00 pm
VENUE :- 22 Philbeach Gardens, Earls Court, London, SW5 9DY (12:00)
RECEPTION:- Jamaica High Commission, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BZ (14:00)
Event and Marketing: Chinara Enterprises Ltd, 07501 497920 firstname.lastname@example.org
General Enquiries – Nubian Jak Community Trust Ltd – 0800 093 0400
Jamaica High Commissioner Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet Assamba said:
“I welcome this activity which seeks to honour a great Jamaican. Not only was the late Arthur Wint an Olympian, but he is a former High Commissioner for Jamaica to the United Kingdom. As current High Commissioner, I am very aware that I am benefitting from the legacy of his work in the Jamaican Foreign Service”.
Mayor of Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Coucillor Buckmaster said: “It gives me great pleasure that Arthur Wint, a former RBKC resident, is being commemorated with Nubian Jak blue plaque. I hope this plaque will remind people of his life’s achievements and serve as an inspiration to local people.”
Former British Olympian at the 1948 London Games and friend, John Parlett Said:
I was running with and against Arthur in the RAF, London University, and other teams from 1946 – 1951. He was a great athlete and sportsman, and was also “one of the boys”. He was an inspiration for many generations of Jamaican athletes.
Founder of the Nubian Jak Plaque Commemorative Plaque Scheme Jak Beula said: “It is pleasing and appropriate that during Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebrations, we in the UK should recognise and commemorate one of it’s sons, Arthur Wint. A larger than life real life superhero!”
Royal Air Force Group Captain Adrian Maddox Said: “Flt Lt Arthur Wint was an extraordinary man who volunteered to serve Britain and the Commonwealth during a time of great need and personal danger, he epitomises the spirit of the Royal Air Force. We are proud to salute this outstanding individual who stands as a role model for us all’.
Councillor Jonathon Read, ward Councillor for Earl’s Court, said: “I am pleased that the Earl’s Court ward councillors have been able to help provide this plaque to commemorate the life of Arthur Wint. The City Living, Local Life ward initiatives have a number of aims and we feel that in this Olympic year we should recognise the first Jamaican to win a gold medal.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Arthur Wint Tribute is being organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust, Chinara Enterprises, the KPM Group and Black History Walks in association with the Jamaican High Commission in London. The tribute forms parts of Jamaica 50th anniversary celebrations in the UK, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and follows in the wake of Jamaica’s success at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The tribute also supported by local dignitaries, councillors, members of the public, national and international press and media: 2. The book “The Longer Run” written by Valerie Wint, will launch the British leg of her worldwide book tour. The book is available in the UK from Central Books on 0845 458 9911, and can be ordered from all book shops in the UK.
3. The Nubian Jak Community Trust is the only national BME plaque and sculpture scheme in the UK. For more information contact: 0800 093 0400 or email email@example.com