Alternative tourism

115. Gordon Green (Powys)

The creator of the World Alternative Games has helped to put Britain’s smallest town on the map and brought a community together.

Gordon Green MBE TD (Territorial Decoration) from Llanwrtyd, Wales was inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games to set up his own unique championship to raise the profile of his town and the local area, giving the tourism in mid-Wales a boost in the process.

Gordon, who first moved to Llanwrtyd in 1975, was inspired by a conversation he had when he was Landlord of a local hotel as to whether a runner could be faster than a horse over a long distance. Gordon set up a marathon race to test who would win between a horse and a man. The event has now been running every year for 34 years and is more popular than ever; this year over 800 people and 65 horses entered the race.

In 2012 Gordon grew the event into World Alternative Games adding a plethora of weird and wonderful activities such as finger jousting and underwater hockey. The games are so successful they attracted over 6,000 participants and spectators this year alone, a higher figure than the town’s own population. Actor Warwick Davis also got involved in the Games this year participating in the bog snorkelling, along with 200 others. The 2014 Games attracted thousands of entrants and spectators from all over the world who visited and stayed in the area, keeping pubs and guesthouses in the local area busy. Events at this year’s Games included stone skimming, hay bale tossing and a rock paper scissors tournament.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Gordon’s wonderfully bizarre Alternative Games has given Llanwrtyd an incredible boost, bringing in thousands of participants and spectators and generating a real sense of community. I congratulate Gordon for his ingenuity and I am delighted to make him the UK’s 115th Point of Light.”  

Gordon said:

“I am delighted and surprised to receive this prestigious award. An enormous thanks must go to all the voluntary committees of the various events who have made it at all possible, and I would like to share it with all of them.”

Roger Williams MP said:

“I have attended the Man v Horse event for many years and it attracts more and more interest every year. Gordon is the Maestro of making Llanwrtyd the centre of attention. It has excellent facilities for walking, cycling and riding in the wonderful Mid Wales Countryside but people need to be attracted there so that they can enjoy it. Gordon has found excellent interesting ways of attracting them.”

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