Saturday, 20 March 2010

Looking Back - Football's World Cup Stolen

On this day in 1966, the football World Cup was stolen while on exhibition at Central Hall in Westminster, London.
The £30,000 solid gold Jules Rimet trophy disappeared while a church service was taking place in another part of the building.
Thieves removed the cup from the "Sport with Stamps" display at the Stampex exhibition, but stamps worth £3m were left behind.
At least two guards were in the hall at the time of the theft. Alsa-Guard, the security firm at the exhibition, was not available for comment.
Delegates from current cup-holders Brazil left the cup in custody of the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) last week.
The trophy was to be the centre-piece of the World Cup tournament being hosted by Britain later this year.
Vice-chairman of the Football Association Council, Jack Stewart, was reluctant to accept blame for the trophy's disappearance.
But he said: "We are responsible for it in the end because we are the organizing association."
Detectives and forensics experts are investigating the break-in and have appealed for anyone who was in Central Hall to contact Scotland Yard.
Police say a suspicious-looking man was seen in the building at the time of the theft. He is described as being in his early 30s, of average height with thin lips, greased black hair and a possible scar on his face.
The Jules Rimet trophy is named after a French lawyer who was a president of FIFA and initiated the World Cup competition in 1929.
Brazil have been holders of the Cup for the last eight years, after winning both the 1958 and 1962 competitions.

Several days of anxiety and frustration followed the Cup's theft.
Brazil said it was a sacrilege that would never have been committed in Brazil where even its thieves loved football too much.
But the trophy was eventually found by Pickles, a mongrel dog, out for a walk with his owner, on 27 March in south London.
Later that year it was England who won the World Cup, but in 1970 Brazil was allowed to keep the trophy for ever, after winning the competition for the third time.
The replacement trophy remains the prize for the World Cup to this day.
The Jules Rimet cup was stolen again in 1983 - in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has never been recovered.

To watch more on this story click on the video link below:

Funny Signs

Death Of A Queen

On the morning of Friday 19 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed, not upon Tower Green, but rather, a scaffold erected on the north side of the White Tower, in front of what is now the Waterloo Barracks.
(Pictured right: Anne Boleyn in the Tower by Edouard Cibot (1799-1877)
She wore a red petticoat under a loose, dark grey gown of damask trimmed in fur and a mantle of ermine. Accompanied by two female attendants, Anne made her final walk from the Queen's House to the scaffold and she looked "as gay as if she was not going to die". Anne climbed the scaffold and made a short speech to the crowd:

"Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul."

This is one version of her speech, written by Lancelot de Carles in Paris, a few weeks following her death; he had been in London, but did not witness either trial or execution. All the accounts are similar, and undoubtedly correct to varying degrees. It is thought that she avoided explicitly criticizing the king to save her daughter and family from further repercussions, but even under such pressure did not confess guilt, rather implying her innocence, in her appeal to historians who "will meddle of my cause".

Death and burial
She then knelt upright, in the French style of executions. Her final prayer consisted of her repeating, "To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul." Her ladies removed her headdress and necklaces, and then tied a blindfold over her eyes. According to Eric W. Ives, her executioner was so taken by Anne that he was shaken, and found it difficult to proceed with the execution. In order to distract her, he shouted, "Where
is my sword?" just before killing her so that Anne could die thinking she had a few seconds more to live.
(Pictured left: Thomas Cranmer, who made no attempt to save Anne).
The execution was swift and consisted of a single stroke. Cranmer, who was at Lambeth Palace, was reported to have broken down in tears after telling Alexander Ales: "She who has been the Queen of England on earth will today become a Queen in heaven." When the charges were first brought against Anne, Cranmer had expressed his astonishment to Henry and his belief that "she should not be culpable." Still, Cranmer felt vulnerable because of his closeness to the queen. On the night before the execution, he had declared Henry's marriage to Anne to have been void, like Catherine's before her. He made no serious attempt to save Anne's life, although some sources record that he had prepared her for death by hearing her last private confession of sins, in which she had stated her innocence before God. However, on the day of her death a Scottish friend found Cranmer weeping uncontrollably in his London gardens, saying that he was sure that Anne had now gone to Heaven.
Despite the effort put into Anne's execution, Henry failed to have organised any kind of funeral or even provide a proper coffin for her. Her body lay on the scaffold for some time before a man (believed to be working inside the tower) found an empty arrow chest and placed her head and body inside. She was then buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St Peter and Vincula. Her skeleton was identified during renovations of the chapel in the reign of Queen Victoria and Anne's resting place is now marked in the marble floor.

Beer Mat Bras!

I'll drink to that!

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