Celebration Dinner

Saturday 26th January 2019

Manchester Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel

This was an amazing and successful fundraising event and I'm sure everyone who attended had a great time.

Photos by our very own photographer Dave Greenwood are featured below and many, many more can be found at www.darkstarphotos.com


A Night To Remember by Dave Greenwood

I was invited to record the Celebration dinner back in the autumn and watched the preparations progress as Christmas approached. 'Impress us’ the invitation implored. Saturday night arrived and I felt so understated as I first met Nigel our Chairman checking everything was in order, looking resplendent in his Tux. From Victorian gent in the World of extras to 2019 stepped our secretary Frank Cordingley looking every inch a star with his elegant wife Jackie who was celebrating a birthday which belied her years. Then through the door encapsulating the words from the invitation stepped Dorretta shimmering in a fabulous body hugging Gold dress of Bond girl proportions in which she could have starred as the villain girl. Wow us she certainly did, her partner Anthony boldly, confidently, wearing a plaid Tuxedo. Just as I was thinking this was like the entrance to a red carpet occasion a guest going the other way flashed his suspenders! He was heading for the rocky Horror show.

Others in the cast of the Sale celebration began to fill the bar greeting each other warmly, creating a vision a long way from how I normally capture them covered in mud and sweat puffing their way round the Cross Country course and in Nigel Martin's case gliding his way round as he arrived tonight fifth again in the Northern championships as part of Sale senior Men’s Championship team.

This evening was there to celebrate this wonderful club and its diversity from Champion runners to solid club members who will be nearer the back due to the twilight of their careers. A club for everyone. Mr Chairman appeared eager to have his picture taken with our Olympic 400m runner and guest Kelly Massey. Young women who want to look great in evening wear take up 400m running; it works. In fact we all know how much better we look and feel for doing this slightly masochistic art form of Athletics. Alongside Kelly receiving a lifetime membership award was Paralympian Athlete and cyclist Kadeena Cox MBE who modestly overlooked her own achievements to thank people for making her feel welcome when she moved to Manchester from Leeds. Kelly explained how Karen Lannon former YDL Girls manager told her she would be homeless if she didn't join Sale; she was living there at the time. She vowed to return to help Sale Ladies Track team to get back to the higher echelons of UKWAL. Completing the trio of awards Nigel Breddy explained how difficult he found choosing the person for the chairman’s award but went for who he called 'Mr Sale' - Dave Marsh. Congratulations to all three.

It isn't just star athletes that are needed in such a big club but those who enable the club to run efficiently. Jean Dutton has been membership secretary for many years, and her valuable contribution was recognised with some flowers.

After tucking into some splendid food two birthdays were celebrated with specially made cakes in Sale colours made by club member Cat Jones. Mike Ashby had turned 40 and Jackie Cordingley was celebrating her 60th.

An impressive array of prizes were drawn for the raffle and secret auction, including signed photos of United's David de Gea and City star Serge Aguerro, United legends, GB Olympic medallists Hoy, Adlington and Holmes, singer Olly Murs, a Physio session at Athlete Matters and a Gym voucher.

This was a most impressive evening which it is hoped will become a regular fixture. I was personally pleased to meet Sale 1500m record holder Double Olympian Kevin McKay who was with his former coach Norman Poole who is currently guiding another crop of athletes to success. Also on their table was Paul Roden who achieved unprecedented success with his young athletes in 2018 having 1-2-3 in the Northern U20 Women and G.B. representation. Yet more quality people involved in the club. It has to be said the depth of good coaching within this club makes it outstanding for ambitious young athletes.

As Nigel mentioned the excellent Harrier magazine returns this year, driven by Editor and Sale Sizzler Race Director, Fechin McCormick. Over many years Fechin has worked tirelessly to record all aspects of the club. This publication will remind us all of the many wonderful achievements of one of Britain’s top clubs you are proud to be associated with- Sale Harriers Manchester.

The organising committee for the event consisted of Nigel Breddy, Dawn Wetherley, Helen Carter, Paul Barrett, Tony Simmons and Frank Cordingley. Thanks also to Tracy Lavin Events for the beautiful table decorations.