HYNDBURN'S Hall of Fame was officially launched with a host of famous names at the opening ceremony at Hyndburn Sports Centre on Friday.
Hockey supremo Val Robinson opened the event and alongside her were England cricketer Ian Austin, ex-Manchester United footballer Mike Duxbury, Masters swimmer Tommy Walker, Great Britain athletes Kerry Gillibrand and Amanda Parkinson and many others.
And these, along with a host of Hyndburn's sporting greats, got to see their pictures up on the wall as part of the Hall of Fame.
Sports stars portrayed included, from cricket, Accrington-born England players David and Graeme Lloyd, footballers included Walter Galbraith's legendary Accrington Stanley side of the 1950s, as well as Brett Ormerod, Ashley Hoskin and Mark Brennan.
Netballers past and present were represented with former England players Marion Lofthouse and Anna Newell, legendary marathon runner Ron Hill had his picture on the wall along with decathlete Rory Birbeck, middle distance runners Amanda Parkinson and Kerry Gillibrand as well as swimmers Tommy Walker, Eddie Keane, Brian Crompton and Chris Goddard among many others.
And it was a celebration of six months of hard work for Baxenden man Ray Clark who launched a one-man campaign to get the sporting stars of the borough recognised.
It was Christmas when Ray learnt of the deaths of Brian Crompton, a former captain of the England polo team, and Eddie Keane, who was 11 times Lancashire backstroke champion.
He was disappointed that their achievements were not recorded anywhere and so could be forgotten.
So he began the task of trying to establish a Hall of Fame. Hyndburn Sports Development Office got involved, as did the Observer and Hyndburn Sports Centre offered a fitting place for the Hall of Fame to be housed.
Names were suggested, sponsors came forward and, after six months of hard, voluntary work, Ray saw the fruits of his task with the grand opening of the Hall.
"It was absolutely marvellous," said Ray, who had help from a panel which included cricketer Ian Austin and athletes Kerry Gillibrand and Amada Parkinson. "Val Robinson gave a fantastic speech and it has given something historical to the borough.
"I hope it also gives encouragement to stars of the future to keep their enthusiasm going as they can see what they can attain if they try.
"And for Hyndburn's coaches to keep trying to produce these sporting stars.
"We had almost every sport covered in the Hall of Fame from cyclists who have rode in the Tour de France, to Premiership footballers and England cricketers.
"Then there were people from shooting, archery, equestrianism, netball, swimming and much more - all from Hyndburn.
"Some of them have got OBE's, some are Olympians and others English champions.
"It was marvellous to see them all come together and I had a great night and it was all worth it. And it isn't finished. We want to continue adding names and pictures to the Hall of Fame."
Anyone who wants to see the achievements of the stars at the Hall of Fame can call in to the sports centre at opening times free of charge.
Ray would like to thank Trustees at Hyndburn Sports Centre, the Accrington Observer, Jeremy Kemp, at Padiham Glass, Garth Dawson Photo's and Frames, David Maudsley, Accrington College's Siobhan Jones, Beryl and Vicki Repographics, Phil Sunderland Modern Joinery, Jemshad Amhed Community Chest, Terry Slinger at Accrington Stanley historians, the Mayor, the landlord and lady of the Bay Horse pub, Baxenden, the maintenance staff at the sports centre, Big John and Fraser and the committee of Kerry Gillibrand, Amanda Parkinson, Ian Austin, Chris Goddard and Mike Duxbury.