21 February 2018 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster that resulted in the death of a number of Manchester United players – including Dudley-born Duncan Edwards who at only 21 years of age was being hailed as the greatest English footballer of his generation.
This important anniversary comes at a time when the collection of memorabilia, including his football shirts, medals and trophies that were previously on display in the Dudley Museum has been moved out of the Black Country to the Manchester United FC Museum at Old Trafford.
In order to establish a permanent tribute to Duncan Edwards, the Black Country Sporting Foundation, which is a non profit-making organisation, is currently putting together an extensive collection of photographs, ephemera, press cuttings, memorabilia and football programmes that will tell the story of Duncan from his Black Country roots to his championship winning days with Manchester United as a member of the team known as the Busby Babes.
The tribute will actively engage with the local community to celebrate the enormous contribution Duncan has made to the cultural and sporting heritage of the Black Country and to the history of English football.
The Duncan Edwards Tribute will consist of six inter-related components that will be available to residents and visitors to the Black Country:
- A fully illustrated book – Black Country Boy to Red Devil
- St Francis Church, Dudley - A Wall of Remembrance
- Dudley Archives – An exhibition of photographs and memorabilia
- Priory Primary School, Dudley – An educational heritage package
- Website - Detailed information and regular news updates.
- 60th Anniversary Tribute Dinner at the Copthorne Hotel
The Duncan Edwards Tribute will tell the story of his remarkable achievements as a footballer - starting with Dudley Schoolboys and Worcestershire Boys to his days representing the British Army, moving on to his time as a professional with Manchester United and culminating with the caps he won representing England at every level of international football.
This will contain over 200 photographs, press cuttings, stories and original graphic images that shaped the life of Duncan and fuelled his iconic legacy along a path that took him from Black Country Boy to Red Devil.
Wall of remembrance
St Francis Church is located in Laurel Road on the Priory Estate in Dudley and is close to the home in Elm Road where Duncan spent his childhood living with his parents Gladstone and Sarah. It was also at this church that Duncan Edwards’ funeral was held on 26 February 1958 following his death as a result of the Munich Air Disaster.
In 1961 two stained glass windows in the church were unveiled by Matt Busby - the Manager of Manchester United - both dedicated to the memory of Duncan. Both windows feature images of Duncan, one in his Manchester United kit and the other in his white England international shirt. The windows also incorporate the coats of arms of Manchester and Munich.
We will be creating an interaction with those members of the local community who remember Duncan and his family or have photographs or memorabilia linking him with his Black Country Heritage. The outcome of this social and cultural interchange will be an unveiling on a site in the annex of the church of a Wall of Remembrance dedicated to the life and career of Duncan Edwards.
Using photographs and images from our collection - but selected by the members of St Francis Church - we will trace the life of Duncan Edwards from his childhood on the Priory Estate, his schoolboy football career, his time at Manchester United, his achievements as an England International and finally his tragic death in the aftermath of the Munich Air Disaster.
Dudley Council is supporting the Duncan Edwards Tribute and we will be working with senior archivist Richard Lewis to curate an exhibition at Dudley Archives and Local History Centre for three months from January to March 2018 as part of our programme of events and activities.
Included in the exhibition will be posters, artwork, photographs, artefacts, ephemera, football programmes, magazines, memorabilia, press cuttings and personal correspondence relating to Duncan's life and career.
We have also commissioned football artist – Bob Bond – to create four original story boards illustrating periods of Duncan’s life and these will be used as wall hangings.
Educational heritage package
With the support of their extended families, pupils at Priory Primary School have been searching for photographs, press cuttings, football programmes, artefacts and memorabilia relating to the life of Duncan Edwards.
These items will be used alongside a wide range material we have already collated to illustrate the book, the website and the slide presentation with key items also being featured at the Dudley Archives and Local History Centre.
It will also include original story boards illustrating periods of Duncan’s life – including his dreams of playing football at Wembley Stadium when he was a pupil at Priory Primary School.
Once completed, the package will be made available with a written script and support documentation to other schools, libraries and community groups in the Black Country.
Duncan Edwards Tribute Dinner
This will be held at the Copthorne Hotel in Dudley on Wednesday 21 February 2018 to mark the 60th anniversary of Duncan’s passing following the Munich Air Disaster in 1958.
Following a four course meal, we will chart the life and career of Duncan. With colour images projected onto a large screen - including photographs, artefacts, football programmes, press cuttings and personal correspondence – we will discuss the contribution that Duncan made to English football with a number of players who actually featured in matches in which he participated. All profits from this event will go towards the Duncan Edwards Tribute.
The Black Country Sporting Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organisation that is managed by a team of volunteers who develop and manage events that highlight the achievements and contributions that have been made by teams and individuals to the sporting heritage of the Black Country.
All concepts, written copy, images and original photographs used to produce the Duncan Edwards 60th Anniversary Tribute are subject to copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the BCSHF.