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Statue of Arthur Wharton is unveiled at St George's Park

FURD was present at the National Football Centre, the training hub developed by the English FA at St George`s Park, Burton-on-Trent, on 16th October to witness the unveiling of a 16 foot statue of Arthur Wharton.

The permanent memorial recognises the pioneering achievements of Wharton, the world`s first black professional footballer, and St George`s Park chairman David Sheepshanks talked at the launch of the huge potential of the statue and of Wharton`s story to inspire future generations.

The statue was created by sculptor Vivien Mallock after a long campaign by the Arthur Wharton Foundation.

The event was attended by members of Wharton`s family, former top footballers including Viv Anderson, Cyrille Regis and Paul Davis, FA representatives and representatives of the campaigns to raise Wharton`s profile.

FURD has been campaigning to raise awareness of Wharton`s story for nearly 20 years, and in 1997 a FURD fund-raising campaign enabled his grave to be given a headstone in 1997.

Howard Holmes of FURD said, `We are all very proud. A story that started so long ago in west Africa, that took so many turns, has now been recognised by the English FA.

`The statue is a milestone but the journey of legacy continues, it is one which FURD will continue to be at the centre of.`

FURD has created a range of learning resources, including a 30 minute documentary film, based on Wharton`s life as part of its Heritage Lottery funded Arthur Wharton Heritage Project. Most of the resources can be accessed through The accompanying exhibition - which is available to hire from us - was on show at the statue unveiling and FURD`s Arthur Wharton comics and booklets were given to all attendees at the event.

The Heritage Project worked with local schools using Wharton`s story to inspire young people to produce art, drama and poetry, and some of the young poets, Jess Wood and the Newfield School `flash mob`poets, wowed the audience at St George`s Park with their moving performances.

The event came the day after FURD had hosted a visit by relatives of Wharton to the Arthur Wharton Archive, part of FURD`s Resources and Information Centre at its base the U-Mix Centre in Sheffield. The relatives are descendants of Arthur`s wife`s brother, and brought with them Arthur`s `birthday book`, containing notes of significant birthdays in Arthur`s own writing.

Newfield School poets with the Arthur Wharton statue (Click for full size pop-up)
Newfield School poets with the Arthur Wharton statue
Wharton family and statue resized (Click for full size pop-up)
Members of Wharton's family at the statue unveiling

External links

Link to an external website Arthur Wharton Foundation
Link to an external website Arthur Wharton Heritage Project
Link to an external website Football Association
Link to an external website Vivien Mallock
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