THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Weather fails to halt scouts’ relay race between Belfast and Bangor

From the News Letter, June 2, 1924

By Darryl Armitage
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 10:00 am
A file picture dated 1910 of a group of Boy Scouts, as they appeared then, sitting around a camp fire.
A file picture dated 1910 of a group of Boy Scouts, as they appeared then, sitting around a camp fire.

Despite squally weather the annual relay race under the auspices of the Belfast Boy Scout Association had been run the previous Saturday reported the News Letter on this day in 1924.

The News Letter’s correspondent noted: “Friday’s bright sunshine had filled everyone with hope that Saturday would be similarly blessed, but shortly before three o’clock the rain commenced and by 3.45pm, when the race was due to start, the road, despite its tar macadam surface, was in a deplorable condition.”

Run over the popular course between Belfast and Bangor it had consisted of 12 relay stages positioned at roughly one mile intervals between Gelston’s Corner and the bandstand in Bangor.

Despite the weather crowds of enthusiastic supporters turned out along the route, which began at Gelston’s Corner and ended at the bandstand in Bangor with 12 relay stages positioned at roughly one mile intervals.

After some delay a clearance permitted the first mile runners to get away and the rain followed them throughout the race until the final stage was reached in the seaside town.

In 1923 the challenge cup had been won by the Belfast 10th Troop and, noted the paper, again in 1924 the 10th Troop had proved successful with the 26th Troop finishing second and the 25th Troop third.

At the final stage of the race Mr W J McMillan, chairman of Bangor Urban Council, received the despatches which the scouts had carried from the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sir William Turner, and which had been handed to the boys at the start by Mr T H Keown, JP, the chairman of the Belfast Boy Scouts’ Association.

The message forwarded to Mr McMillan stated: “I gladly avail myself of the facilities offered by the senior relay race held today under the auspices of the Belfast Boy Scouts’ Association to convey by despatch runners to you and the citizens of your beautiful and progressive town my greetings and those of the people of Belfast. Bangor handsomely performs a splendid community service of administering health, amusement, and relaxation, and I trust that during the coming season it will dispense its benefits more widely than ever before.”