Presentation to Dorando

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Presentation to Dorando is an article published in the Daily Mail on 1st august 1908, including a speech by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Conan Doyle made this speech in honour to Dorando Pietri the disqualified winner of the Olympic Marathon in 1908.

To Honour Dorando

Daily Mail (1 august 1908, p. 3)

£308 Cheque and Gold Cigarette Case.

There was a pleasing little ceremony at The Daily Mail offices yesterday, when Lady Conan Doyle presented Signor Dorando, the popular hero of the Marathon Race. with a cheque for £308 15s., the amount of the subscriptions sent in by readers of this paper.

It will be remembered that on the day following the race a letter appeared in our columns from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, suggesting that many persons who saw Dorando's splendid effort in the Stadium would like to feel that he carried away some souvenir from his admirers in England. Beyond the amount mentioned above, £30 was received as the result of Signor Dorando's appearances at the music-halls, but this sum, at his own request, was given to the Italian Hospital, Queen-square, Bloomsbury, which yearly treats a large number of the poorer members of the Italian colony in London.

In handing the cheque to Signor Dorando, Lady Conan Doyle said, "I congratulate you with all my heart, and it gives me the greatest possible pleasure to be privileged to make this presentation."

The cheque was enclosed in a gold cigarette-case, which bore the following inscription:—

"To Dorando Pietri,
From friends and admirers in England.
Souvenir of Marathon Race, 1908."

Sir A. Conan Doyle's Speech.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, addressing Dorando, said, "We represent not only the few people in this room but all the English nation when we say that we admire, not only your heroic work in the Stadium, but also the good temper with which you took the decision of the lodges — a decision which must have been very galling to yourself. We admire, too, the good sporting spirit which you showed. We ourselves think our nation to he the mother of modern sport, and we therefore hope you will go away with pleasant recollections of your sporting experiences here, and that when you get back to Italy this little gold box will help to remind you of your friends in England."

Signor Dorando, all smiles, speaking through an interpreter, said, "I much regret that my knowledge of English is so small that it will not allow me to express to heartfelt thanks for the way in which I have been received in England. The day of the race was the best day of my life, and I shall never forget the good sporting qualities of the English nation."

In accordance with his present plans Signor Dorando will shortly return to his native country.

The following additional subscriptions — some of which came to hand after the presentation had been made — have been received to the Dorando Souvenir Fund:—

£ s. d.
C. Pinoli and Staff, Wardour-street 14 4 0
Degiuli and Boriani (collected at Pall Mall Restaurant, Haymarket) 10 10 0
Tunbridge Wells 10 0 0
Colonel Delmé Radcliffe 5 0 0
F. W. Brothers 0 10 0
"Admirer of Grit" 0 10 0
H. B. Mitchell 0 5 0
H. S. (Mill Hill Park) 0 5 0
Noralt de Vahl 0 5 0
H. Graham Reece 0 5 0
"A Scotch woman" (Butler's Cross) 0 2 6
Anon. (Manchester) 0 1 0
Damon. (S. Kensington) 0 1 0

Dorando was last night presented with a gold medal by the Italian Hotel and Restaurant Employés' Society, in commemoration of his performance in the Marathon Race.