JIM CLARKE 'A LOCAL HERO'



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On Monday 4th March the unveiling of the James Clarke Plaque was carried out by his surviving children Vinny, 65, and the twins, Winnie and Michael, 69.


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Earlier at the ceremony they clasped hands on the banks of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal where in the deep water their father saved dozens of children.

Joining the Clarke family were many residents of the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area who paid their own forms of tribute to a man who became one of the most respected figures in the community.

Many past and present residents of the Scotland Road & Vauxhall area attended a special Commemorative Mass for James Clarke on Sunday 3rd March at St Silvesters Church. Taking pride of place at the service was a floral design depicting the Guyana Flag. Members of the Merseyside Guyana Association also attended the Mass to hear a 'Tribute to James Clarke' from Marion Herbert (Acting High Commissioner for Guyana) read out as part of the service.


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The 'Tribute to James Clarke' was also read to those gathered on the canal banks on Monday.

We take this opportunity to print the tribute;


'TRIBUTE TO JAMES CLARKE'



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On behalf of the Government and people of Guyana it is my great honour and privilege to join with you in paying tribute to a great son of Guyana's soil, Mr James Clarke, for his distinguished contribution to the community of Vauxhall where he lived after arriving in Liverpool from his homeland in 1900.

Jim (as he was called in those days) epitomises what good neighbourly relations could accomplish. His fate was decided from the moment when he, a cold and shivering 14 year old boy, was found by the Priests of St Augustine's, Great Howard Street, who not only took him to the presbytery and provided food and shelter for him but also arranged for him to have a home.

It is no wonder that Jim grew up with such a profound love for his fellow man which has led today to this occasion in which he is being honoured with a commemorative inscription as a symbol of respect for his unselfish and unstinting dedication to the upliftment of his community.

There is no doubt that just as much as he was a role model for his children that Jim's input in the lives of the children of Vauxhall to whom he imparted his knowledge of swimming and, more so, in those whom he risked his life to rescue from drowning, was of great significance.

It is heartening to know that Jim's noteworthy acts since the early 1900's have been recognised and appreciated and that his legacy of love and commitment has been passed down to you fifty six years after his death.

To Jim's family, we wish to extend best wishes. He won many medals but his most historic ones are the memories of Jim which will live on in your hearts, memories which you will preserve and proudly pass on to your children.

The people of Guyana join with you the people of Vauxhall in celebrating the life of this great husband, father, swimmer, teacher, lifesaver, community worker, and outstanding athlete who for many years carried the banner of the Scotland Road and Vauxhall District. As you unveil this commemorative plaque to 'A Local Hero' please be assured that we are truly proud of and salute "Our National Hero", James (Jim) Clarke!!



If you would like to read more about Jim Clarke 'A Local Hero' click onto Local History. If you would like to make any comments email ronformby@scottiepress.org.uk or visit our 'Guestbook'




JAMES CLARKE PLAQUE

Due to graffiti vandalism along stretches of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal it was considered to be too high a risk of possible damage for the permanent placing of the James Clarke Plaque to be on the originally chosen site - Lightbody Street Bridge.

Members of James Clarke's family agreed with the Vauxhall History & Heritage Group to site the plaque on a wall of the Eldonian Village Hall. Grateful thanks is given to Tony McGann and Christine Norris (Eldonian Development Trust) for their permission for the plaque to be sited at the Eldonian Village Hall wall and for their instant co-operation in securing a successful completion of the project.

We picture a photograph taken of the James Clarke Plaque now in position and thank British Waterways for fitting the plaque to the wall on Wednesday 24th April 2002.

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GUIANESE MAN SAVES LIVERPOOL LADS
LIVERPOOL LAD SAVES GUIANESE MAN

Dear Scottie Press, My dad rang me this morning in great eagerness to tell me he had found your website and was chuffed to find that JIM CLARKE was mentioned. My dad said that if he or his brother wanted to go swimming in the Leeds & Liverpool canal (many happy memories) his mother would always say, "but only if Jim Clarke is there".

I thought you might like to hear the following story of my father who saved a young man from Georgetown British Guyana. It made front-page news over there but needless to say never got a mention over here. The newspaper article was captioned

' Guianese man saves Liverpool lads
Liverpool lad saves Guianese man'


In April 1965 my father Cpl David Graham was serving with the British Army as a member of an exploratory group serving in British Guyana. While having some free time he decided to do a bit of exploring on his own, he decided to measure the distance of the trail to the top of water falls in Georgetown (Jim Clarke's hometown). One day just about noon the drone of an aeroplane engine was heard to cut out. Treking through thick undergrowth for some 4 hours my father came across a young black man in his twenties who had suffered severe injuries as a result of the plane crashing. This young man, Rudolph Calistro, was rescued from the Guiana highland by my father. My father led a search party on the next day to track down the lost aircraft and a reported five missing people. Sadly four days later the aircraft was found with all five people dead.

FRANCES GRAHAM.


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