Fireworks - Celebrity Appropriation

There is a selective appropriation of celebrities who have flown the nest of their home town, or who have graced the walls of a school or institution. You won't find an alumni list of paedophiles gracing the entrance way of a £10,000 a year school, or the mug shot of a murdering doctor amongst the history pages of sleepy villages. A puritanical line has to be drawn in the sand.

Snobbery can also play it's part in this critical amnesia. The school I attended chose its celebrity sporting representation as Alexander Obolensky, a Royal refugee of the Bolshevik Uprising of 1917. A surprising choice for an English Rugby player, clearly the reference point for immigration, then as in now, is the size of ones wallet. A singled handed try against the All Blacks in 1937, broadcast to the nation by Pathe News, shot the Prince to fame. The systematic erasing from history of Reverend Kenneth Hunt, the last amateur football to score in and win an FA Cup final in the same year he won an Olympic Gold medal seemed a mystery. Indeed, he is the only footballer to have won the FA Cup and an Olympic Gold medal in the same year. Football, being the common man's game, and the propensity to sweep all achievements in this area under the carpet reeked of the priggish regime the school was under at the time.

My mother's hometown of Heanor, Derbyshire, lists it's only notable resident as Henry Garrett, a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Much like the celebration of Fireworks Day, the remembrance of a terrorist plotter is justified by the act of being caught before any horror took place. This more an observance than celebration. Something to be noted of and filed under the heading of 'interesting fact.' In the absence of someone to idolise, you have to make do with what you've got.