On Wednesday 17th November JRF launched the new Inspire to Achieve Heritage project: Uncovering the Histories of the Footballers who Paved the Way in the borough of Brent including Paul Merson, Dave Beasant, Rachel Yankey, Richard Langley, the Stein brothers – Mark, Edwin, and Brian, Jason Roberts, Luther Blissett, Phillip Ifil, Jerel Ifil, Dale Banton, Dave Regis, Ricky Hill, Gary Waddock, Darren Currie, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Jerome Thomas, Junior Lewis, Eartha Pond, and the family of the late Cyrille Regis.

The Inspire to Achieve Launch Event was held at Bridgestone Arena against the backdrop of the home of English football, the iconic Wembley Stadium.

Guests enjoyed hearing from Patricia Lichst, Engagement Manager for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, New PFA Chief Executive Maheta Molango, along with UCFB’s President of GIS Sharona Friedman, representatives from The Rise Trust, Brent Schools – who will represent a key link in the project, and Youth Ambassadors from JRF.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the exciting new project will uncover the untold stories of 18 footballers from Brent who paved the way for future sportspeople, and will produce exhibitions, talks, and memory cafes along the way.

An emotional Mark and Brian Stein paid tribute to their late father, while Jamaica international Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Eartha Pond, and Jerome Thomas hailed the need for such history to be uncovered.

Young people from Brent will benefit from the Inspire to Achieve project by honing their media, presenting, and production skills and will have the opportunity to meet and interview the former players as part of the collation of their oral histories.

Visits to the areas these former footballers lived, to the schools they attended when they were young, the parks and green spaces across the Borough where they may have first kicked a ball, and observing their views on the changes that have taken place through the regeneration of the area, will play a massive part in uncovering the authentic stories that will stay will us and be recorded and archived in our museums and libraries.

Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation commented, “JRF would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund for believing in the project. Thanks to National Lottery players they have provided the opportunity for us to uncover these authentic stories from some of the unsung heroes of the game, some of whom arrived in Brent from distant shores and who achieved so much. These untold stories will be preserved for current and future generations, and we hope they too will be Inspired to Achieve their dreams and goals.”

He went on to say, “Brent is the home of Wembley Stadium which hosts major football matches, but the borough does not have a professional club in the area. It’s fitting that this project remembers and celebrates the players that paved the way for the likes of Raheem Sterling and Yannick Bolasie who were both raised in this wonderful borough.”

Watch a short video of the evening here https://vimeo.com/651149884/e2727f4ecc

Photos Credit eyeSam.co.uk