Farsley company leads national sporting heritage celebration

Footballer Harry Haslam's gold medal

A Farsley not-for-profit company working to support the collection, preservation, access and research of sporting heritage in the UK is leading a national celebration this week.

The world of UK sport will be celebrated this Wednesday (30 September) when clubs, museums, community groups and individuals showcase and celebrate an amazing variety of sporting memorabilia, objects, photographs, audio and film in support of National Sporting Heritage Day.

Celebrating its sixth year, the day aims to raise awareness of the relevance of sporting heritage and encourage the public to access the collections, with a particular focus this year on sharing the collections digitally. Highlights include the previously untold story of cricket at Trent Bridge during WW2 and the centenary celebrations of the GB Hockey team.

Hundreds of sporting heritage collections are available at https://www.sportingheritage.org.uk/collections celebrating momentous national and local sporting events and achievements, covering over 100 sports from across the country.  Many of the collections are making their debut digitally on podcast and video, alongside written documents, and physical exhibitions.

Dr Justine Reilly, Founding Director of Sporting Heritage, said:

“All sport has a past to celebrate and heritage to share. Through these heritage collections we can access hidden histories and stories which are not traditionally shared, and those sporting collections which haven’t be celebrated previously.

“We want to show how sporting heritage isn’t just about tactile objects, but also in the value and importance of sporting memories, passions and stories that we are able to capture and share digitally.” 

A sample of collections include:

  • Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club will be releasing online the previously untold story of cricket at Trent Bridge during WW2, including tales of heroism, sportsmanship and occasional guest appearances by cricket legends including Gubby Allen, Maurice Leyland and Harold Gimblett. 
  • Five times Olympian, and four times World Rowing Champion, Frances Houghton MBE is sharing her experience, sporting achievements, and discussing the UK’s passion for rowing with the River and Rowing museum in an exclusive podcast with Sporting Heritage 
  • Celebrating the centenary of Great Britain’s gold medal win at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games, The Hockey Museum is releasing commemorative video footage featuring the family of Harry Haslam, the goalkeeper from the 1920s team, receiving his GB cap at a presentation ceremony, along with releasing details of a 5 year research project into the unknown history of the sport.
  • The governing body EMD UK is celebrating 90 years of Flexercise and the tenacity of fitness instructors during the pandemic with the release of several videos celebrating the sport and community of group exercise.

Justine adds:

“These collections play a really important role, not just in terms of the items and memories themselves, but also in terms of supporting wider social, cultural, political and economic understanding and cohesion.

“Sport undoubtedly plays an intrinsic role in our society, and although we now are experiencing a time where physical participation or attendance is restricted for many, the role sport plays in our lives now and how it has historically brought people together from all different communities, ages and backgrounds, is something to be celebrated.”

The public is invited to get involved on the day by searching the hashtag #NSHD2020 to view or share collections and objects from their sporting communities that tell their sporting story.

People can also take part in two free special events:  

  • National Sporting Heritage Virtual Coffee Morning – funded by the Heritage Fund, this free to attend online event is aimed at supporting individuals and organisations working with, or wishing to work together, to network and support each other on sporting heritage
  • The Family Treasure Hunt brings together collections across the UK to celebrate access to them digitally. Families can enter for free for a chance to win a prize.

A community grants programme is currently open which is aimed at supporting community groups to deliver sporting heritage activity. Further details and applications can be made here.


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