A flattering photo of Ashington colliery and terraces, 1924. In my memory Ashington is always black and white
Ashington, an (ahem) 'unglamorous' mining village in Northumberland, is well known for producing sporting superstars - originally footballers, nowadays cricket fast bowlers. Indeed, of the (only!) five biggest-impact England international team sports triumphs of my lifetime, Ashington players were involved in three.
1966 Football World Cup - the brothers Bobby and Jackie Charlton (no relation, unfortunately) were in the eleven. Bobby is often regarded as the best England footballer ever, and among a handful of the best in the world.
2003 Rugby World Cup - No Ashington-born. The nearest was fly-half Jonny Wilkinson who went to university in Durham and played professionally in Newcastle.
2005 Cricket Ashes (England versus Australia) contest. Regarded as probably the best cricket test match series ever. Featured fast bowler Steve Harmison throughout.
2010 Cricket T20 World Cup - No Ashingtonians. The nearest was captain Paul Collingwood, who came from nearby Shotley Bridge in County Durham.
2019 Cricket One Day International World Cup, from just over a week ago. Regarded as perhaps the most exciting cricket match ever. Featured Mark Wood.
Aside, Ashington was also the birthplace of Sheila Armstrong, perhaps the best English opera and oratorio soprano from the nineteen sixties through the eighties.
Why such a concentration of excellence from such a utilitarian place - established several generations ago and still continuing? It is a mystery - all the more mysterious to those who know Ashington.
Note: My connection is that my Dad comes from the adjacent seaside village, Newbiggin by the Sea (birthplace of James Shepherd, the greatest cornet player ever), where I spent my holidays twice a year through childhood. Newbiggin people rather looked-down on Ashington. To us, Ashington was merely the location of a toy shop (Crisp's?) where we went for our summer holiday present. That's it.