Eric Liddell was born in Tianjin, of Scottish parents in 1902. His career
reached his peak with his gold medal victory in the 400 meters event at the
1924 Olympic games. He returned to China to work in Tianjin as a teacher.
Liddell was interned in a camp at the present site of the Weifang second
Middle School and died in this camp shortly before the Japanese were defeated in 1945. He embodied paternal virtues and his school life was spent encouraging young people to make their best contribution to the betterment of mankind.
David Michell addressing the audience
- Weifang -
The Eric Liddell Monument.
By Norman Cliff
Charles Walker, an Engineer working in Hong Kong, was moved by the Liddell story (being a fellow Scot) and raised funds locally and in Scotland for a monument to be erected in his memory in Weihsien, and obtained permission for the project from the Chinese authorities.
In June 1991 David Michell and I travelled with a group of supporters from Hong Kong. The former camp is now divided into two sections. On the side of the hospital are houses occupied by medical staff and their offices. On the other side is a large Middle School.
When we got off at the former camp site there were lines of students in their uniforms to welcome us. We found that Block 23 had been demolished and another building of similar size had taken its place. We walked down the end of houses once used as the married quarters and still standing, and came to a site behind where the church used to be. We went through a moon gate into the Garden of Inspiration in which was the Liddell monument.
There we saw the magnificent seven-foot high rose granite memorial stone. It had come all the way from the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, a gift from Edinburgh University.
The authorities were determined that no religious element should enter the proceedings, but the words on the stone in English and Chinese said, "They shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint". This is a quotation from Isaiah chapter 40 verse 31!
David Michell and I addressed the crowds there - of teachers and students and foreign journalists from Beijing. I had been told not to preach Christianity, but having made a quotation from Confucius I felt free to quote the prayer of St. Francis - "Make me a channel of Your peace ..."