Duo receive Olympic medals after more than half a century
IN the time it took Neil Nugents to receive his Olympic medal he has seen man land on the moon, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and the Queen celebrate her Silver and Golden Jubilee.
CELEBRATED: Neil Nugent (second from left) and Sir Derek Day (second from right) were presented with their Olympic bronze medals by Lord Colin Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Assocation (centre)
And he has seen no less than ten British Prime Ministers come and go in his 58-year wait for a medal - it's fair to day Nugents deserved his day in the sun in Nottingham on Wednesday.
Nugents, 83, along with Sir Derek Day, 82, were members of the Great Britain hockey team that clinched bronze at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki - only to walk away from Scandinavia empty-handed.
Both were forced to watch the bronze-medal match with Pakistan from the sidelines as Great Britain came out on top 2-1.
Only 11 medals were available to the bronze medallists and as a result Nugents and Day selfless stepped aside to allow their replacements Graham Dadds and John Taylor to collect their prizes.
But 58 years on and the duo were finally recognised with British Olympic Association chairman Lord Colin Moynihan doing the presenting honours at Highfield Sports Club.
Nugents' absence in the bronze medal match was caused by injury, having taken a blow just above the knee so severe that he lost consciousness, only to battle on as Great Britain were defeat 3-1 by India.
Ironically enough, the injury was inflicted, not by a member of the opposition, but inadvertently by teammate Tony Robinson - but Nugents is certainly not one to bear any sort of grudge.
He does however remain convinced that had injury not struck in Helsinki, that it would be gold and not bronze that Great Britain bagged back in 1952.
"I remember the Games in Helsinki vividly, the thing I remember most is that we actually should have won the gold medal," said Nugents, who served as RAF Commander of the 53rd Squadron in Brize Norton between 1970 and 1973.
"We didn't have substitutes back in those days so after I had got my injury I hobbled on but we were basically playing with ten men.
"It has been very emotional, the presentation at half-time was wonderful and suddenly what it was all about flooded back to me and it was very moving. I'm very proud.
"Wonderful memories have come back. There was no bitterness. We were all so proud of what we had done."