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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.89

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Sporting heritage projects receive thumbs up from Alan Shearer and Michael Carrick

Two projects preserving and celebrating the influential footballing history in the North East of England have today been awarded nearly £70,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to make their fascinating stories available for the wider public. 

The first project, History and Heritage of Wallsend Boys Club, will publish a book telling the club’s history which spans over a century.  The second, Durham Amateur Football Trust’s Youth Development, will work with young volunteers and digitise precious and rare historic pinks*

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East Ivor Crowther said:

“These fantastic projects not only capture the North East’s wealth of football history, but also play a pivotal role in the social lives of young people throughout the region. They will provide them with valuable opportunities to get involved, learn valuable skills and play an active role in conserving and promoting these inspiring histories that are their heritage.”

History and Heritage of Wallsend Boys Club
This youth organisation has had many well known members over the years including footballers who have gone on to play at a professional level including Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick, Peter Beardsley, Steve Bruce and even musician Sting to name only a few. HLF has awarded the club over £36,000 to publish a book detailing its rich 107 year history. It will contain fascinating stories, facts and images detailing over a century of its existence.

The project will focus on the club and its impact on the local community dating back to when it was started by the Swan Hunter Shipbuilders in 1904. The project will allow around 2,500 local primary school children to learn about the history of the club as part of the curriculum. Through local care homes and other members of the older generation they will have the opportunity to record these people’sgreat memories. In addition, the club will deliver a series of workshops to other members of the community sharing their stories of the club.

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer commented on the funding saying:

"It was actually because Wallsend already had such a positive history and heritage that my School Master, Jimmy Nelson, recommended me to join them when I was a young lad. So I think it is fantastic that this rich history is eventually going to be recorded in a book with the valuable support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. I am sure there will be enormous interest in how this Club has played such a valuable role in the lives of so many Tyneside youngsters, while at the same time consistently producing so many quality footballers over the decades. I’m certainly looking forward to reading the whole history."

Manchester United’s Michael Carrick said:

“I started going to the Boys Club when I was 5 years old on a Saturday night playing 5-a-side football, and later on 4 nights a week and was on the members committee. The Boys Club is doing great work regarding the positive futures of the young people in the community.”

“I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their financial assistance in helping to publish this book and for keeping the heritage of the Boys Club going for the foreseeable future.”

The books co-authors Vince Carrick and Michael McGill jointly said**:

"In 2003 we were asked by the committee to produce a booklet on the history of Wallsend Boys Club. With help from local press, former members, a number of founder members from 1938 that came forward, photos, documents, programmes including visiting local studies centres, history societies, archive centres and the archives of the local press, we soon built up a large dossier of invaluable information. Without the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, our 107 years of fascinating history would be lost to the public domain"

Youth Development
Durham Amateur Football Trust (DAFT), has also been awarded an HLF grant of £32,600 to develop and work with a group of young volunteers who will help conserve and exhibit historic football memorabilia. The funding will also digitise rare collections of sporting pinks* that could otherwise deteriorate and be lost forever.

The project will focus on the ‘golden age’ of amateur football dating between the 1940s to 1960s in County Durham. The voluntary-run community group will engage and train more young volunteers between 13 - 25 to sustain the county’s football heritage. Through taking part in the project, the young people will learn a wide range of heritage skills enabling them to care for, catalogue and promote these collections. The collections will also be used as a learning resource for high school students.

John Phelan, on behalf of DAFT said:

“Over the past few years the Trust has acquired a vast amount of memorabilia from the era, unfortunately the people involved are aging and we feel it is essential that a new generation takes on the task of keeping the wonderful football and social history memories alive. We are indebted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing the funding to enable us to progress our youth development work.”