The Trevor Dawson Perpetual Challenge Cup presented by Commdr. Sir Trevor Dawson Bt. R.N. for the Shot Put
By Dr Jane Ainsworth
The Story of the Event
Putting the shot was one of the earliest disciplines contested at the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association Championships, making its first appearance in the Championships’ second year in 1923. Shot was the first of the throws to appear on the programme, along with javelin; the discus followed closely in 1924. The WAAA was considerably ahead of international competition, since shot put did not appear on the Olympic programme for women until 1948 nor the Commonwealth Games until 1954.
Winners of this trophy include some of the most outstanding athletes in the history of British athletics, both in the extent of their domination of the event and the breadth of their athletic talent. Six athletes won the event on four or more occasions, and it is almost the rule rather than exception for athletes to have held trophies for more than one event.
Eight athletes were champions in more than one discipline, most usually combining shot with discus. Not content with this, Bevis Reid won all three throws available in the 1948 Championships, and Mary Peters, shot put champion in 1964 and 1970, set a trend for British Olympians in winning the pentathlon in Munich in 1972, having already won the WAAA Championships in pentathlon and 100m hurdles, and coming second in the High Jump that year.
Sue Allday won 7 WAAA titles between 1954 and 1962, as well as Commonwealth silver and bronze medals in the shot, and Commonwealth gold and silver medals in the discus, while Myrtle Augee won the WAAA title in 1989, 1992 and 1992, and took Commonwealth gold in Auckland in 1990.
The name which appears most frequently on this trophy is Judy Oakes, who competed at elite level for over a span of three decades. Oakes’ name makes the first of thirteen appearances on this trophy in 1979 and its last in 1995. She competed at six Commonwealth Games between 1978 and 1998, medalling at all of them, winning three gold, two silver and a bronze. She also represented GB at the 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. Her influence as a mentor to younger athletes, such as 2010 champion Eleanor Gatrell, continues.
The high levels of energy and achievement outlined above certainly would have appealed to the donor of the trophy, Commander Sir Trevor Dawson. Otherwise the reasons behind his donation remain rather mysterious – although not as baffling as the link he provides between the event and the Fishmongers’ Company of which he was Master. The gift may have been the result of Sir James Heath’s persuasion, himself the donor of the Women’s javelin trophy. Dawson served in the Royal Navy and subsequently became Managing Director of Vickers Limited, with whose submarine business he was closely associated.
History of the Trophy
This trophy was first awarded to the winner of the WAAA championships in 1925 and therefore omits Florence Birchenough’s early victories in 1923 and 1924 on its list of winners. Until 1929, the competition was decided on an aggregate of throws with both hands. Early accounts of matches between the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, both instrumental in the codification of rules for several sports in the nineteenth century, describe the two universities following different styles of competition; Cambridge favouring puts with one arm while Oxford preferred a two-handed effort over the head.
Since 2010 the trophy has been awarded to the winner of the England Senior Championships Shot Put.
1925 M E Weston 1952 J. Linsell 1973 B. Bedford
1926 F. Birchenough 1953 J. Linsell 1974 J. Haist
1927 F. Birchenough 1954 S. Allday 1975 B. Bedford
1928 M E Weston 1955 J. Cook 1976 J. Kerr
1929 M E Weston 1956 S. Allday 1977 B. Bedford
1930 E Otway 1957 J. Cook 1978 A. Littlewood
1931 J. Phillips 1958 S. Allday 1979 J. Oakes
1932 J. Phillips 1959 S. Allday 1980 J. Oakes
1933 G de Kock 1960 S. Allday 1981 A. Littlewood
1934 K. Tilley 1961 S. Allday 1982 J. Oakes
1935 K. Tilley 1962 S. Allday 1983 J. Oakes
1936 B. Steyl 1963 M. Klein 1984 J. Oakes
1937 K. Tilley 1964 M. Peters 1985 J. Oakes
1938 B. Reid 1965 E. Schafer 1986 J. Oakes
1939 B Reid 1966 B. Bedford 1988 J. Oakes
1946 K Dyer 1967 B. Bedford 1989 Myrtle Augee
1947 B. Reid 1968 M. Gummel 1990 J. Oakes
1948 B. Reid 1969 B. Bedford 1991 J. Oakes
1949 B. Reid 1970 M. Peters 1992 Myrtle Augee
1950 J. Linsell 1971 J. Roberts 1993 M. Augee
1951 B. Shergold 1972 J. Roberts 1994 J. Oakes
1995 J. Oakes
|2010 E. Gatrell||2013 R. Wallader||2016 D. Opara|
|2011 E. Francis||2014 E. Francis||2017 A. Strickler|
|2012 R. Wallader||2015 R. Wallader||2018 S. McKinna|
|2019 S. McKinna|
*N.B. Names are as recorded on the trophy and are not always as recorded elsewhere, thus J for I Phillips and E for G. Schafer. The champion in 1945, K. Dyer (formerly Tilley), is not recorded.