Trophy Returned after 30 years!

Mike Annable
On 13th August 1915, His Majesty's Transport ship Royal Edward was torpedoed whilst en route to the Dardenelles. A Kettering man, Charles William Ward of the Royal Army Medical Corps was onboard when the torpedo struck and he was sucked underwater.
He was rescued by another man from Kettering - in fact there were ten Kettering men onboard HMT Royal Edward who had all joined up together: John Howard, Ernest Toseland, William Harry Bates, James Summerfield, Herbert Wills, Charles William Ward, R.W. Waller, Zachariah Bailey and T. Dyson. Only Ward, Waller, Bailey and Dyson survived.
Charles never forgot the act of bravery, by "a strong swimmer from Kettering", that saved his life, and as a result he donated the Royal Edward Challenge Cup to be competed for annually by factory and works teams from Kettering. This trophy was first awarded in 1922.
Over the years many teams took part in the competition which formed part of Kettering Amateur Swimming Club's annual Club Championships. These teams were from Weetabix, Alumasc, Kaycee, Timson's Engineering, the Post Office, Wicksteed Park, the local police and many others.
In 1993 the trophy was won by a team representing the newly opened Kettering Leisure Village, and was displayed in a trophy cabinet at KLV.
Sadly the trophy went missing and was not competed for again. 
In early February 2023, just over 100 years since it was first awarded, and 30 years since it disappeared, the trophy was left in the toilets at Kettering Swimming Pool.
In an incredible coincidence the trophy was found by Christine Green, a swim teacher and lifeguard at the pool, who was part of the KLV team that won the race in 1993.
Christine, a former member of Kettering ASC, said, " Initially I thought one of the Club swimmers had left a trophy behind but when Club Coaches Howard and Jacqueline Farrow didn't recognise it I decided to take a closer look. It was only then that I realised what it was." 
The event is recalled in the Club's Centenary book, from 2014, when Dianne Patrick said," there was a so-called "Factory Race", with policemen swimming in their uniforms and teams from other major employers such as Timson's and Wicksteed Park". 
A book about HMT Royal Edward, "Fastest to Canada, The Royal Edward: from Govan to Gallipoli" by former BBC Radio Northampton presenter Richard Oliff, covers the trophy and its loss in some detail, along with more information about the Kettering men that sailed on her.
Jacqueline Farrow, Head Coach, said, "This is a wonderful piece of Club history and we are grateful to whoever returned it, whatever their motivation. It will be repaired and we'll try to find a way to reintroduce this." 
Club Chair, Mike Annable, commented, "30 years after it was last seen the Royal Edward Challenge Cup is back home. Given current rules and regulations I'm not sure it could be brought back in its original format but we're going to see what might be possible." 
The Club would be delighted to hear from anyone with any memories or photographs from the" Factories and Works" race. 

More photos: