A 1928 Olympic blazer for sale

Ada Smith one of the early gymnasts to achieve success at the Masrh Gymnasium
Ada Smith one of the early gymnasts to achieve success at the Masrh Gymnasium

MEMORABILIA from a Leigh Olympian – the first woman to win a gymnastics medal – will be on sale at an auction this month.

An Olympic blazer and a painted diploma belonging to Ada Smith, a bronze medal winning gymnast, will be up for auction held by Adam Partridge Auctioneers of Macclesfield, on August 16 and 17.

The auction features items from the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, which was the first to have the Olympic Flame lit, the first time the games were sponsored by Coca-Cola, and the first time women were allowed to compete in the athletics and gymnastics events.

It was also the only time Great Britain had won a female gymnastics medal.

The British women’s team picked up the All-Around bronze medal that year, losing out to the Netherlands and Italy who won Gold and Silver.

Ada Smith, who was 24 at the time, was one of the team and brought home her medal as well as a blazer embroidered with the Union Flag along with the words Olympic Games 1928 Gymnastics, and a framed painted diploma with her name on it.

Also included in the sale will be a photograph of Ada along with her gymnastics team mates all wearing their official blazers.

Ada was born in Leigh in 1903 and was a member of the Marsh Gymnasium from 1914.

After her Olympic success, she married in 1947 and died in Atherton in August 1994.

These items were given as a gift by Ada to the current vendor before her death.

But Gill Orrell, gymnastics coach at Marsh Gymnasium, is disappointed the items are being auctioned off.

She currently has items belonging to Ada and another Olympic gymnast - Hilda Smith (who is not related) which she loans for display across Wigan and Leigh.

She said: “I want the items to remain in Leigh. That collection is hugely important to Leigh as it was the first time women were allowed to compete in the Olympics and it is used to inspire girls and show they too can win the Olympics.”

Adam Partridge, who has regularly appeared on television programmes such as Flog It and Bargain Hunt, said; “Olympic memorabilia is very popular at the moment for obvious reasons, and with Ada being one of the first and last females to win a gymnastics medal for Team GB, it makes these particular items all the more important.

“Now, 84 years after women were first allowed to compete in Olympic gymnastics, our hopes are pinned on the likes of Beth Tweddle and Hannah Whelan to repeat and maybe even better Ada’s achievement.”

The items will be for sale at Adam Partridge Auctioneers, in Cheshire, on August 16 and 17 and the catalogue will be able to be viewed online at www.adampartridge.co.uk.