• L&T staff report
The locally-owned Leader & Times newspaper will be establishing another first for its readers – complete coverage of Pancake Day festivities – from both sides of the Atlantic.
Managing editor Larry Phillips will be leaving Wichita Friday morning and arriving in London early Saturday morning.
“I’ll catch the Underground to Piccadilly Station and then hop over to Euston Station to catch the train to Olney,” Phillips said. “I should arrive in Olney shortly after noon Saturday.”
Phillips plans on filing reports and interviews from Olney several times a day.
“I plan on interviewing the mayor, who had to cancel his trip to Liberal due his wife’s illness,” Phillips said. “Also, I want to visit with the Rector of St. Peter and St. Paul Church, the 14th Century church where John Newton wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace.’ And, of course, I will interview the local pre-race favorites prior to Shrove Tuesday.
“I will also have the chance to interview Tony and Sue Lamming. They came to Liberal for Pancake Day in 2003, and Tony’s been helping me with arrangements and providing maps of the Underground in London,” Phillips continued.
“I’ll also be carrying a laptop that can record video and audio to send back to put on our Web site, as well,” he continued. “And I’m hoping to cover all their pre-race festivities – the local ‘flavour,’ so to speak.”
Phillips is also carrying a key to the City of Liberal, which was provided by the Liberal City Commision, and delivering it to Olney’s Mayor Hughes, with best wishes from the citizens of Liberal.
“On behalf of Liberal, I will invite him and his wife to visit Liberal whenever possible,” Phillips said.
Why go to Olney?
That’s a question Phillips was asked recently. The fact that many local businesses have stepped forward to purchase avertising packages to sponsor the trip is what made it all possible, Phillips said.
“Plus, I told them this was a great opportunity to record the activities from Olney’s side of the pond — that this race is an important part of Liberal’s history,” he said. “I mean, it has brought worldwide attention to Liberal for the last 60 years. Our friendship with Olney and the competition between our lovely ladies has become a part of who we are.
“I think our readers will get to see another side to the event and, perhaps, the tradition and meaning of Pancake Day will be held just a little bit more dear and stronger among us all,” he added.
Daily stories and photos will also be filed with The Associated Press at the London Bureau for the consumption of those intersted in Pancake Day around the world.
“It will be another chance for Olney and Liberal to shine a little brighter this time of year,” Phillips said.
Once the international competition is completed and the final story has been filed, Phillips will return stateside March 9.
“I was telling some of my friends at lunch last week about my trip and our plans, and I was quite proud when I told them, ‘We’re making history,’” Phillips said. “I was even more proud when one of the men said, ‘You guys seem to be doing that quite a bit lately.’”
Publisher Earl Watt also mentioned that this historic coverage was a commitment from the newspaper to provide the best to Liberal.
“I was fortunate to get to go to Olney with ‘That’ Liberal Band my senior year in high school,” he said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I think everyone should get a chance in their life. If they can’t, there isn’t anyone better to send to England to report on their side of the story, and make us all feel like we are there, than Larry.”