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Welcome to the website of the Durham Amateur Football Trust, “Celebrating the Golden Age of Soccer”


Our purpose:

  • To record this sporting and social history by establishing an archive of Amateur Football in Durham County.
  • To collect newspaper reports, audio and video footage, vintage newsreels and to collect memorabilia.
  • Organise exhibition material, lectures and maintain this website for the benefit of clubs, schools and community groups.
  • To promote interest in the history of Amateur Football and non-league football in an effort to get young and old involved in local clubs, playing, helping and supporting.

News


24th November 2021

“The Bishops”

The 1940's and 50's are acknowledged as the high point of Amateur Football in England, and in particular Durham County, with teams from the area selling out Wembley Stadium and winning the F.A. Amateur Cup on numerous occasions.

Durham Amateur Football Trust is a non-for-profit organisation that seeks to celebrate the rich football heritage of the north-east of England and promote interest in grass-roots sport by curating exhibitions, film nights and ‘talk-ins’, football tournaments and other events.

The Trust was fortunate to be based in the Locomotion Museum Shildon for about 10 years, but  we were required to move out due to safety concerns about the building.   The collection was moved to a secure storage facility whilst we searched for a permanent base. and in 2020 we were offered the Caretaker’s Lodge at King James I Grammar School at Bishop Auckland, where we had just moved to when the Covid Pandemic struck ! 18 months on and, thanks to a grant from English Heritage, are about to have the building decorated so we begin to reorganise our collection.  Throughout the Pandemic we have attempted to keep things moving, in particular, the majority of our photographic collection has been digitised.  Unfortunately one of the Founders, Keith Belton and another of our working committee members, John Fenwick, have both passed away in the past few months and will be hugely missed.  Keith kindly bequeathed to the Trust his huge collection of football memorabilia and Geoff Wood is currently working his way through cataloguing this extensive collection.  It is hoped to put on a display of Keith’s collection in due course.

The Trust received a tremendous boost in January 2008 when Mike Amos recommended us to the family of the late Arthur Clark who was a long serving official in local football until his death in 1997. We received numerous trophies and mementoes which Arthur had accumulated and which his family wished to go to someone who would display them suitably. They were put on show for the first time at Crook library in April 2009 and have made several further appearances.

In April 2009 the family of the late Bob Hardisty (Bishop Auckland) kindly donated memorabilia from his lifetime and a major exhibition was held for September 2010 at Bishop Auckland Town Hall to celebrate his life and career.

Other substantial collections donated to the Trust include those of Chris Foote-Wood and the late Gordon Nicholson. A stalwart of the Northern League for many years, Gordon Nicholson was until recently involved in the Trust as an auditor. Gordon was also a keen cricket fan, and an exhibition was held at Durham County Cricket Club a few years ago, which  included much of Gordon’s donated memorabilia and also celebrated other legends of the Northern League such as four time Amateur Cup winner and Crook Town hero the late Jim McMillan.  The exhibition was formally opened by Director of Cricket Geoff Cook and Jim also attended to chat to visitors.

Chris Foote Wood donated a large amount of documentary and reference material to the Trust, and we are now the proud custodians of a rare collection of ‘Sporting Pinks’ newspapers dating from 1946 – 1948. These papers form a valuable research aid and are available for public viewing by appointment.  Executive Committee member, Geoff Wood, is working towards digitizing this collection and a few years are available to view from the “Newspapers” tab above.

In 2018 we were contacted by Keith Batey, Chairman of the Billingham Synthonia Supporters Club.  The Club no longer has a clubhouse and we were asked if we could take over their substantial collection of memorabilia.  Geoff Wood has been working through cataloging this and we hope to have an exhibition before the end of the year in the Billingham area.

In the short term, please use the new email address: daft.office@btinternet.com or  contact the Secretary, Dick Longstaff on 07817900274.   PLEASE DO NOT PUT A COMMENT UNDER THE BLOG SECTION OF THE WEBSITE.  We are receiving dozens of spam messages every day and they are deleted without reading.