20th January 2023
On the evening of Friday 20th January a crowd gathered at Bridgestone Arena, the home of JRF, to remember the late, great, Cyrille Regis, as part of the Foundation’s Inspire to Achieve Heritage Project.
BBC Radio presenter and former One Show Host Adrian Chiles opened the evening and West Brom fans who remember Cyrille’s debut season in 1978, joined the 150 strong audience.
Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, the Inspire to Achieve Heritage Project uncovered the Histories of the Footballers who Paved the Way in the borough of Brent, and the evening’s event focused on one of the true trailblazers who overcame racism and bigotry to inspire a generation.
JRF’s Media Manager Michael Adams hosted the evening, showing a video highlighting the great achievements of Cyrille during his professional career, as well as his charity work off the pitch. A Q&A discussion followed with many touching tributes shared by the audience about the impact Cyrille had on them, from how he tackled the racial abuse he endured, and why so many Brent residents are West Brom supporters.
Children with physical and learning disabilities who were involved in the Inspire to Achieve Heritage project, presented their research projects on the history of Cyrille’s professional career as well as his cultural heritage.
Patricia Lichst and Alex White from The National Lottery Heritage Fund were invited to attend, and they engaged with the community and took part in the creative workshop ran by Simon from ‘Blingwear’ for local children and young people to express how they wanted to remember Cyrille, later taking to the stage to share their thoughts on the JRF project.
The audience learned more about Cyrille’s connection to Maripasoula, French Guiana where he was born. He followed his father to England at a young age, and was playing football with non-league Hayes when he was spotted by West Bromwich Albion chief scout (and former centre-forward) Ronnie Allen. A film is currently in production about Cyrille’s family.
One clear message from the night was that although Cyrille has sadly passed away, his legacy lives on in the memories of past, present, and future generations.