Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Memories of Peter Hildreth (1928 - February 26th 2011)

Peter was a ' Freeman of the City of London' and a Great hurdler in his day. I have a large picture of him hurdling next to Harrison Dillard, the double Olympic Champion, in the 1952 Olympic Semi-Finals in Helsinki. Of course Peter  equalled Don Finlay's British record of 14.3 several times in the 50's
   I  think it was special  that he won two hurdle races at the same meeting Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile at Ifley road Oxford in 1954.
   As a Sunday Telegraph athletics correspondent he came up to the infamous freezing 'National' at Sutton Coldfield in 1972 when I ran in the senior race. He eventually found a local phone box and filed his copy with the 'headline' words of "Napoleons' Retreat from Moscow could not be much worse than this!"
   I knew him as a loyal friend for 43 years and, well after he retired from competition in the late 60's early 70's he would time himself on running up the stairs many times in the flats we lived in Kensington, as well as hurdling park benches and railings in Kensington Gardens, Just for the fun of it!
   He was a very good dancer and would glide round the Hammersmith Palais or the Kensington Town Hall with consummate ease and, his wife Carol was a witness to that.
   His immense knowledge of history was quite astounding and he could quote all the Great leaders in history, particularly Churchill and Wellington so, it would be no surprise to realise he achieved an MA in history at Cambridge University.
   When I did information work for the BBC sound outside broadcasts in the 1970's Peter was the link man on radio at Crystal Palace and he had a wonderfully fluent delivery of words. His timing was sharp.
   To finish my tribute I would like to say when he used to come with Carol to my home for Christmas Day for several years and, after my wife Joanna made a sumptuous meal, he would  sit in the big armchair and always ask me could he hear that song from Sinatra's album 'Where Are You' recorded in 1957 called 'There's No You'
         Maybe there isn't but I will never forget Peter Hidlreth.

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