Bambisanani book is special prize at historic Wenlock Olympian Games

The annual Wenlock Olympian Games have a unique place in the history of world sport

Photo: LEFT TO RIGHT: Helen Cromarty, David Geldart, Vanessa Statham, Mike Mowling, Andrew Lockwood.

In the 1850’s William Penny Brookes, through his Wenlock Olympian Society (WOS), had the wonderful vision of providing annual competitions in sport and the arts ‘for people of every grade’. What started in the small Shropshire town of Much Wenlock extended regionally, then nationally, and now hosts international competitors from as far away as Australia.  Ultimately, it was a major inspiration for the modern Olympics as we know them today.

The Bambisanani Partnership is a multi-award charity based in Yorkshire that works in one of South Africa’s poorest rural regions using sport as a catalyst to promote education, health, global citizenship and leadership. The charity’s latest book (Bambisanani: Ten Years of Working Together and Learning Together) has gained international acclaim, and the Partnership was pleased to donate a copy to WOS.  The book was given as a special additional prize for the  annual ‘Golfer of the Competition’ award at this year’s Wenlock Olympian Games, and presented to the very worthy winner, Vanessa Statham.  

David Geldart, Founder and Chairman of the Bambisanani Partnership, said: “It is an absolute honour to be associated with the Wenlock Olympian Society. The pioneering work of William Penny Brookes in the 1850’s paved the way for the modern Olympics and indeed Physical Education and Sport for all children in school. The Wenlock Olympian Games are still held to this day and it was wonderful that the latest Bambisanani book was deemed worthy as a special prize this year. The work of the Bambisanani Partnership has very much been inspired by William Penny Brookes’s concept of ‘Olympism’ – using sport for the greater good.”

Helen Clare Cromarty, organiser of the Wenlock Olympian Games golf competition, said, “On behalf of the society, I’d like to thank the Bambisanani  Partnership for their kindness in donating such a beautiful prize.  WOS is run entirely by volunteers, and relies on the generosity of its patrons and donors to continue its work. It was great that David was able to present the book in person to Vanessa, and I’m certain it will be treasured.”

Mike Mowling, WOS Chairman, added, “It’s wonderful to see the valuable projects organisations such as The Bambisanani Partnership are accomplishing in South Africa, by using the power of sport to transform lives in disadvantaged communities. The latest Bambisanani book tells an inspirational story in both words and photographs. Dr William Penny Brookes would certainly have approved of this important work.  We wish them every success in their future initiatives and hope that their continuing work will inspire other schools to follow their excellent example.”

For more information about the Wenlock Olympian Society visit