Sporting memories help combat the debilitating effects of dementia, depression and loneliness.
A new exhibition of memories collected from the 1966 World Cup launches later this year, thanks to a £302,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The exhibition will celebrate the glory of 1966 and the legacy of England’s win fifty years after the event.
The National Football Museum (NFM), the Sporting Memories Network (SMN), and the Football Association (FA) partnered to deliver the exhibition, which will be on show at the museum’s Manchester home and Wembley Stadium this summer.
The partnership was launched at a special event at the Royal Garden Hotel (on January 5), Kensington, where the England squad originally celebrated the 1966 finals draw at the same hotel. Present at the event were former England players who will use the year ahead to tell their story of how they united and inspired the country. The World Cup legends were appearing at the event courtesy of 66winners.com.
A major focus will be around collecting the memories of players, fans and ordinary people affected by the famous World Cup win. The Sporting Memories Network will work alongside NFM to record and collect the memories to feature in the exhibition and an accompanying website. They will also be used to develop a health and wellbeing programme in Greater Manchester to celebrate the football memories of older people.
The exhibition will be divided into a selection of themes focusing on the wider tournament, the players and their families, the fans, popular culture of the time and the tournament’s legacy. New objects, photographs and film will feature alongside the ball used in the final and the Jules Rimet trophy handed to England on the day of the win.
NFM director Kevin Moore said: “It’s fitting that 50 years after the most memorable event in the England football team’s history we look back on the seismic effects of the tournament on the whole country.”
“We will be working hard with Sporting Memories and The FA to develop a very special exhibition that will reflect the mood of the country at the time and the legacy of English football staging and ultimately winning the tournament. We’re delighted that, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund we are able to do this; we’re confident that this will be one of the most popular and wide reaching exhibitions we have produced.”
Tony Jameson-Allen, Co-founder and Director of the Sporting Memories Network, said: “At Sporting Memories we use the concept that stories and memories not only hold the power to reignite connections between generations, but help combat the debilitating effects of dementia, depression and loneliness. This landmark exhibition will collect and develop memories of 1966 to help enhance communication, engagement and memory skills for older people. We’ve worked with hundreds of organisations in our communities to engage those who are elderly and isolated. The 1996 World Cup is such an historic occasion, we’re incredibly excited to see the positive, wide-impact this project will have.”
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “The ‘66 World Cup was a generation-defining moment in England’s sporting history that not only had a huge impact on football but on the country as a whole. This is a fitting project to mark the 50th anniversary of England’s triumph and an innovative way of using our shared heritage to boost people’s well-being. Special thanks to National Lottery players who’s money makes our investments possible.”
Greg Dyke said: “We are delighted to be working with the National Football Museum to commemorate the achievement of our 66 winners. I can remember going to games as an England fan and it was an incredible time that brought the nation together. We know now just how unique a moment that was and how special those individuals were on and off the pitch.
“In celebrating what those players did and reflecting on how they united the country, it is right this year that English football is coming together with a renewed commitment to facilities and coaching investment to give ourselves the best chance of one day emulating their remarkable success. In many ways that focus on where we are today and where we are headed will be the most important story to be told in this joint exhibition.”
Stephanie Moore from the Bobby Moore Fund commented “I am delighted that the Bobby Moore Fund will be working alongside the FA and Royal Garden Hotel in 2016, for what hopes to be an exciting year recognising 50 years since Bobby lifted the World Cup.”