Glyn Hibbert Oral History Recording


Glyn Hibbert Oral History Recording


Glyn Hibbert


An oral history interview with Glyn Hibbert


Michael Romyn


Kent's Sporting Memories


Interview recorded on 8 August, 2019


Glyn Hibbert, Michael Romyn


Kent's Sporting Memories


MP3 (1:35:28) Also available in WAV




Sound Recording


Glyn Hibbert


Kent’s Sporting Memories Oral History Summary
Interviewee: Glyn Hibbert
Interviewer: Michael Romyn
Date: 8 August, 2019
Location: Glyn’s home in Hawkinge, Kent

0:00 Name, place and date of birth (Glyn Hibbert; Stockport Kent; 19 June, 1946); moving to Folkestone at the age of four when his father was demobbed in the town after the war.
1:00 First memories of living in Folkestone, at Marine Terrace, and moving to Cheriton aged one; Glyn attended Harcourt Primary School in Cheriton, and later Morehall secondary – he doesn’t remember being particularly sporty at school; Glyn describes the lack of sporting interest among his family.
3:45 Glyn’s days at Morehall, including the sporting provision at the school, and the lack of provision locally; meeting Colin Cowdrey at a school prizegiving; leaving school at fifteen in the late 1960s and joining P&O, as part of the Merchant Navy.
6:12 Glyn describes his work in the Merchant Navy, which, at the time, involved transporting British immigrants from Tilbury to Australia, a thousand at a time; the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ scheme and the colonizing process; Glyn talks about his interaction with the immigrant passengers, explains that many of the crew decided to stay in Australia, and describes the six week passage; Glyn was in the Merchant Navy for five years.
11:10 Flying to Singapore to work on an oil tanker, and shipping around East Asia; meeting his wife, Sandra, at a Tesco in Sandgate Road, Folkestone, where he had been given a job as a greengrocer, and where Sandra worked on the checkout; getting married a year later; going to work with his father building the docks at Dover Harbour in the late-1960s, where he built its first hovercraft base.
15:50 Glyn describes the various constructional and engineering projects on which he worked during his long career, including motorway bridges, the Lloyd’s building in London, Canary Wharf (which he worked on until very recently), the London Olympics 2012 site, for which he was given the Freedom of the City of London, and the Shell Oil complex as a liaison officer; the various corporate responsibility schemes Glyn has been involved with; Glyn’s busy retirement in his capacity as councilor and Mayor of Hawkinge.
27:20 Glyn’s introduction to weight training at an old, very basic gym in an industrial site in Cheriton in the 1960s; moving the gym to Folkestone Sports Centre in 1969; members of the weight training club building and acquiring the equipment themselves; building up the club to roughly 50 members, and the different sections of the club – power lifting and body building; competing as a club in power lifting and body building; organising various weight training events and competitions at Folkestone Sports Centre.
32:20 Glyn’s own weightlifting exploits and his motivation for becoming a coach; training at Bisham Abbey to become a British weightlifting coach, and subsequently at the University of Kent in 1983, under George Popplewell, to learn more about Olympic lifting; Glyn’s introduction to Stoke Mandeville through Popplewell, who was in the process of setting up a weightlifting club at the hospital for disabled athletes.
35:13 Glyn’s work at Stoke Mandeville in preparation for the Paralympic Games in 1984, where the weightlifting club won two medals; his subsequent work at the hospital and its weightlifting club; his appointment as Chairman of the British Weight Lifting Association for the Disabled – a position he continues to hold after 36 years in the role; coaching in the ’84, ’88 and ’92 Paralympic Games, before becoming Chair of International Weight Lifting and later an International Referee for Paralympic powerlifting.
38:00 Attending nine Paralympic Games in an organizational and refereeing capacity; serving as head referee at the London Paralympics, where he lived in the Olympic Village; recovering from a heart attack and taking up once more with the Paralympic Committee; Glyn’s work with the UK Dwarf Games and his continued work with Stoke Mandeville; Glyn talks about the history, success and future of the Paralympic Games; his involvement with the Invictus Games.
49:55 Working with bodybuilder and weightlifter Ken Wildman, as well as the British Army, on an event at the Quarter House in Folkestone in 2009 to raise money for Help for Heroes; later meeting and working with Micky Yule at Stoke Mandeville – Micky had attended the 2009 Folkestone event as part of the Army weightlifting team, and later became a Paralympic powerlifter after suffering an injury in Afghanistan.
55:00 How Glyn managed to work full time and have such an active involvement with Stoke Mandeville, Paralympic weightlifting and Folkestone Sports Centre; meeting Prince Charles and various members of the Royal Family through his work with disabled athletes
1:02:05 Glyn describes the advent of Folkestone Sports Centre – ‘there was nothing like it at all’ – and the amazing amenity it was; the success of the weightlifting club and its gradual decline; the concept of life membership at the centre, which, for Glyn and his family, has been a great boon; the recent acquisition of Hawkinge Community Centre.
1:05:07 The importance of sports centres at the time, not just to Folkestone, but to the country – ‘There was this sort of thing – everyone did sports at school and then nothing – when you left school where did you go and do sport? Unless you join the football club or something like this, or there was the occasional bit of running or something like this, there were very little sports…the diversity of sports wasn’t there…so having the sports centre there was a great stepping stone’ – particularly for access to provision for people leaving school; the successes of the sports centre, including the strength of its various clubs and the lifesaving team, the swimming pool and the ski slope; the range of facilities at the centre, its expansion, and plans for the future.
1:08:50 Glyn talks about the women’s section of the weightlifting club; the lively social side of things at the centre in the 1970s – ‘there were so many events going on, you know, and so many of the individual clubs would come together and we’d have suppers and parties and all sorts of things…’ – and the popularity of the centre’s bar, which was a good source of income; Glyn’s role on the sports centre board as the representative of life members from the 1980s; the importance of the life membership scheme to the centre’s financial success; how the sports centre was its own ‘community’.
1:14:30 The size, success and popularity of Folkestone Swimming Club, partly due to it housing the only swimming pool in the town following the outdoor pool’s closure; the affordability of the centre and its economic model – ‘any money we make goes back into the centre’ – and its work with disabled people, people with learning difficulties, and local schools.
1:18:10 How Folkestone Sports Centre held the national championships for disabled weightlifting over five years in the late 1990s and early-2000s – ‘It was my way of bringing my sport back to my hometown, to the sports centre which is obviously where it started for me. My sporting career wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Folkestone Sports Centre…it was the keystone to all our sporting careers’; how the national championships highlighted the lack of good disabled access at the centre and in Folkestone more generally; the various events Glyn has overseen in the town to raise awareness of disabled sports and athletes.
1:27:07 Glyn describes the pride he felt in receiving his first Paralympic tracksuit, and, later, his first Paralympic blazer; the funding Folkestone Sports Centre swimming pool received from the local council, and its many and innovative ways to raise money; the support the centre has received from the Folkestone community and various funding bodies; how the creation of Three Hills Sports Centre affected the centre, and the balance negotiated between them.
1:31:50 The changes Glyn has witnessed at the sports centre over the years, the biggest, in Glyn’s eyes, being the rise of inclusivity – ‘so many more people with disabilities now use the centre’ – and the decline of the social side of things; Glyn’s fondest memories at the centre, including winning weightlifting competitions and bringing Paralympic weightlifting to Folkestone.