25 Norfolk sporting heroes

PUBLISHED: 10:47 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:50 21 October 2020

Norwich boxing legend Jem Mace (1831-1910)

Norwich boxing legend Jem Mace (1831-1910)


Our EDP 150th anniversary pick of 150 people who have lit up Norfolk life over the past 150 years continues with sport stars

Veteran fencer Connie Adam.  Photo: Bill SmithVeteran fencer Connie Adam. Photo: Bill Smith

Connie Adam. She began fencing at 60 on a Norwich City Council ‘come and try’ day and went on to win more than 100 medals around the world and is still fencing and an ambassador for Active Norfolk.

Cricket commentator Henry Blofeld
Photo: DENISE BRADLEYCricket commentator Henry Blofeld Photo: DENISE BRADLEY

Ove Fundin,  former world speedway champion and Norwich Stars rider. Picture: ArchantOve Fundin, former world speedway champion and Norwich Stars rider. Picture: Archant

Terry Allcock. The Norwich City footballer played for the Canaries from 1958 to 1969 and is their all-time highest scorer in a season with 37 goals. He also played cricket for Norfolk and became a coach and then matchday host for Norwich City.

Sport shooter Mick Gault with the display of his 18 Commonwealth Games medals, and his OBE at the Norski Noo's Gallery in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSport shooter Mick Gault with the display of his 18 Commonwealth Games medals, and his OBE at the Norski Noo's Gallery in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Robert GreenRobert Green

Jessica-Jane Applegate. The Paralympic swimmer won a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Bryan Gunn Picture: Simon FinlayBryan Gunn Picture: Simon Finlay

Wimbledon tennis champion Alfie Hewett. Picture : ANTONY KELLYWimbledon tennis champion Alfie Hewett. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Henry Blofeld. The cricket expert from Hoveton became famous for his commentary on Test Match Special. His father was at Eton with Ian Fleming, who used the name for his super-villain and his nephew runs Norfolk tourist attraction Bewilderwood.

Alec Lochore. Picture: Matthew Usher.Alec Lochore. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Matthew Pinsent.
  Photo: Bill DarnellMatthew Pinsent. Photo: Bill Darnell

Mel Clarke. The archer, from Taverham, near Norwich, achieved six Paralympic records and 10 able-bodied national records and was the first disabled athlete in Europe to represent Great Britain in able-bodied competitions.

Emma Pooley.

Sir Arthur South  Picture: EDP LibrarySir Arthur South Picture: EDP Library

Chris Boardman. The Olympic sailor won a gold medal at the 1936 Games in Berlin but refused to attend the medal ceremony because Adolf Hitler was presenting the medals. Gold medallists were also given an oak sapling and Chris’s was planted at his family home in How Hill, Ludham. It survived being hit by shrapnel from a German bomb before dying a few years ago - and being transformed into a carving of the Olympic rings and winning boat, which now stands at How Hill environmental study centre.

Jon Thaxton  Picture: Nick ButcherJon Thaxton Picture: Nick Butcher

John Wilson  

William Cullum. 1859-1949. Better known as Billy Bluelight, he was a flower seller who raced steam pleasure boats along the Wensum and Yare, earning tips from passengers amazed by his speed as a runner.

England's Ben Youngs applauds the fans after the 2019 Rugby World Cup match against Argentina at Tokyo Stadium.England's Ben Youngs applauds the fans after the 2019 Rugby World Cup match against Argentina at Tokyo Stadium.


John Edrich. The England cricketer was born in Blofield, near Norwich, and came from a cricketing family with four cousins from Lingwood also playing first class cricket. In 1938 a team of 11 Edriches beat Norfolk in a one-day match. John played 77 test matches for England, scoring a triple century in 1965.

Paul Evans. The Norwich-born runner competed in the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics and is now Norfolk’s athletics development manager. He held 13 British titles at 10,000m and half marathon distances and won the 1996 Chicago Marathon (and has been second in New York and third in London.)

Stanley Fuller. The Yarmouth runner became the first Norfolk man to compete in the Olympics, representing Great Britain in the 100 yards, 200 yards and relay at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles,

Ove Fundin. The Swedish speedway champion rode for the Norwich Stars from 1955-1964, during which time he won the Speedway World Championship four times (with another win later). He became only the second non-English person to be made a Freeman of Norwich.

Mick Gault. The Dereham shooter and retired radar engineer is the joint holder of the most Commonwealth Games medals ever won.

Robert Green. England and Norwich City goalkeeper.

Bryan Gunn. Scotland and Norwich City goalkeeper.

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Alfie Hewett. The three time wheelchair tennis grand-slam champion from Cantley, near Acle, has also won five major doubles titles.

Alec Lochore. The equestian events expert from Burnham Market designs courses for horse trials around the world, including the Olympic eventing course in Greenwich Park for London 2012, and the course of the next Olympics in Tokyo. He competed in the Badminton and Burghley horse trials and is event director for Norfolk’s Burnham Market International Horse Trials and Houghton International.

Jem Mace. Bare knuckle boxer Jem, of Beeston, near Dereham won the English welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight championships and held the world heavyweight title from 1870-71. He was also a talented violinst, owned a circus and ran bars around the world, but ended his life as penniless street musician.

Matthew Pinsent. The rower, born in Holt in 1970, won four consecutive Olympic gold medals and 10 world championship golds.

Richard Polley. The runner helped start the City of Norwich Athletics Club, the City of Norwich Half Marathon, the Trowse 10k, the Lord Mayor’s 5k, Run Norwich, and the Norwich parkrun at Eaton Park.

Emma Pooley. She grew up in Norwich and started cycling while studying maths and engineering at Cambridge. She won cycling time trial and road race British titles, 10 Olympic, world and Commonwealth medals, and was world time trial champion in 2010, before going on to compete in duathlon cycling and running events and becoming world champion four times.

Arthur South. 1914-2003. Arthur led Norwich City Council for 18 years but is best remembered as the chairman of Norwich City Football Club. He became an inaugoral member of its Hall of Fame and the South Stand at Carrow Road is named for him, as is the day procedure unit at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

David Stringer. With 499 appearances for Norwich City, and a stint as manager, the Yarmouth-born central defender has been called one of Norwich’s greatest footballers of all time.

Jon Thaxton. The former British and European boxing champion runs a gym in Norwich for disabled and disadvantaged children and adults.

John Wilson. Angler, author and television presenter who lived in Great Witchingham for many years.

Tom and Ben Youngs. The brothers who grew up near Aylsham are the sons of Norfolk farmer and former England rugby player Nick Youngs. They have played for England and the British and Irish Lions, with Tom winning 28 caps for England and Ben, with 99 caps, becoming England’s most capped scrum half.

Our 150 names of iconic Norfolk people of the past 150 years runs through this EDP 150th anniversary week with categories including sports, arts, science and nature, good causes, business leaders and great lives.

Who have we missed? Let us know who you think should be included in a list of Norfolk people who should be celebrated for making life in the county better over the past 150 years by emailing

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