ALBERT Palmer was a top class cross-country runner, a multi-medal winner who excelled among the talented crop of athletes who ran for Newport Harriers around the turn of the 20th Century.

A dual Welsh cross-country champion - among a five-year run when he finished in the event's top three - he was also a participant in the first international event of its kind, in Glasgow in 1903.

And now a former secretary of Newport Harriers, who is writing a history of the club, is hoping to track down Mr Palmer's descendants, so he can give them one of their relative's cross-country medals.

"I don't know if he was Newport-born or lived here, because back then there were athletes from up in the south Wales valleys would ran for the Harriers," said Richie Jenkins.

"I know very little about him, other than that he was obviously a very talented runner, as his record shows."

South Wales Argus:

Mr Palmer (pictured above in 1902) finished third in the Welsh cross-country championships of 1899, before becoming champion in 1900 and 1901. He then finished third in 1902 and second in 1903.


His exploits meant that when the first international cross country race was staged in Scotland in March 1903, he was chosen to represent Wales.

With him were 10 other Newport Harrier, a record for a Welsh team representation.

"He did compete for the Harriers in 1904, but cannot find anything after 1904," said Mr Jenkins.

"I do know he died in a works accident, which I assume was later in 1904."

South Wales Argus:

The Welsh cross-country championships medal Mr Jenkins has bears Mr Palmer's name on one side and appears to date from 1903, when he was second and - according to the faint inscription - Newport Harriers (above) won as a team.

"There is no point in me having it, and it would be nice to get it back to his relatives. It is hallmarked as a gold insert on a silver medal," said Mr Jenkins, who was also a coach at Newport Harriers for 30 years as a coach, and has been an international technical official in athletics for 40 years. He now lives in Devon.

South Wales Argus:

Albert |Palmer's cross-country medal, which Richie Palmer would like to reunite with his descendants

Newport Harriers will celebrate 125 years as an athletics club next year, and Mr Jenkins is compiling a history.

"I will probably give it to Gwent Archives, so it is there for people who want to see it and use it," he said.

Are you a descendant of Albert Palmer? Telephone the South Wales Argus on 01633 777134.