THE nostalgia feature on April 1 by Skipton’s ‘Mr Sport’ Roger Ingham on the last Skipton open-air swimming gala in 1957 aroused much interest. Here Roger pens a few more lines on its history.

“The name of the last open-air men’s 100 yards champion and water polo star, Jim ‘Bull’ Skelton was a crowd-puller both in the open-air galas and then at the indoor baths. So much so that one ‘Bull’ Skelton water polo shot even promoted me to ring Adrian Childs on BBC Radio Five Live after Childs had asked listeners, following a wayward Rory McIlroy golf shot having caused disruption, which shot in any sport does anyone else recall upsetting the party?

“Others too, after reading the nostalgia script, have reminded me of a ‘Bull ‘ Skelton wonder-wallop in the indoor pool against Colne which cannoned off a goal post, then sent a lass flying off her chair then rebounded again to upskittle the trophy table and then smashed a frosted glass window panel.

“Happily the lass got up laughing and a baths official, Bernard Hennigan, commented at the time on that shot being ‘worth the admission fee alone’.

“Although there was disappointment at losing the outdoor galas, the atmosphere at the indoor pool where the championships were subsequently held, until their eventual closure in 1963, was truly electric as the arena was traditionally packed to the rafters.”

Conclusively, Roger also felt it necessary to comment as to why Jim Skelton and the two other former open-air champions of the 1950s era, Arnold Tosney and Geoffrey ‘Gissie’ Smith did not progress on a much wider plain, even though they had all starred in opposition to the best of their opponents in the popular squadron races - relays in today’s terms - against Colne, Otley, Pudsey, Blackburn, Nelson and Keighley.

“National Service and apprenticeships dented their potential ambitions but, in my school days I do well recall Tosney winning the British Army Championships of the Rhine and Skelton, likewise beating international stars, twice winning the Gozo to Malta race.