'Overlooked' female swimmer's medals up for sale in Derbyshire

Lucy Morton and her gold medal Image copyright Hansons
Image caption Lucy Morton was the first female British swimmer to be awarded a solo gold medal at the Olympics

The first Olympic gold medal won by a British woman in swimming is due to go on sale at auction.

"Long-forgotten" athlete Lucy Morton won gold at the 1924 Olympics shortly after a car crash.

The former three-time world record holder was told by a teacher to take up swimming after being called "the biggest dunce" at her school.

Derbyshire-based auctioneers Hansons said the cache of 39 medals and archive could be worth up to £40,000.

Before competing in the 200m breaststroke at the Olympics in Paris, the Blackpool swimmer lost five teeth in a taxi crash.

In her memoirs, she wrote: "I don't know how it happened but I found myself on the pavement.

"I continued to train and won my heat."

Image copyright Pictoria Pictures
Image caption The Blackpool-based athlete broke two world records before her swimming career was stalled by World War One

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: "This archive tells the story of one of Britain's greatest but, perhaps, long-forgotten and overlooked Olympians."

Her medal has been estimated to be worth between £10,000 and £12,000.

'Swimming pioneer'

In her memoirs, which are also being auctioned, she wrote: "At the age of 10 I was at Christchurch School in Blackpool and Mrs Phillips, the headmistress, sent a note to my father stating that I was the biggest dunce in the school and suggested swimming might brighten my ideas up a bit."

She was born in New Tatton, Cheshire, in 1898 and died in Blackpool in 1980.

Her granddaughter Julia Routledge said she was a "swimming pioneer".

"No-one expected her to win the Olympic gold in 1924 as the Americans had been winning everything," she said.

Morton's win meant the prize-giving ceremony was delayed as judges had prepared a US flag and the American anthem to be played.

Image copyright Pictoria Pictures
Image caption A bracelet made of gold medals awarded for breaking world records is also being put on sale

Alongside 15 gold and 25 silver medals, Morton's Olympic victor vase, and a bracelet made out of gold medals awarded for breaking world records are also being put up for sale.

The auction will take place on 22 August.

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