A charity gala, including some of the biggest names in footballing history is set to honour the borough’s favourite sporting son this autumn.
The Duncan Edwards Charity Gala will be held at Brierley Hill Civic Hall on 1 October, on what would have been Duncan’s 80th birthday. Tickets are already on sale in anticipation of increased interest during the Black Country Festival.
Special guests are set to include former West Bromwich Albion players James Chambers, Darren Moore and Bryan Robson and the youngest ever player to score a senior goal for Manchester United, Norman Whiteside.
Edwards was a gifted footballer whose promising career was cut short by the fatal 1958 Munich air crash in which 23 people died, including crew, journalists and eight of the famous Busby Babes. Duncan was critically injured in the crash and died in hospital on 21 February, 15 days after the incident occurred.
The charity gala is the brainchild of Rose Monk, writer, producer and award-winning documentary maker whose film ‘And then came Munich’ has been the bestselling sports film on Amazon for the past three years, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process. The proceeds of the gala will go towards The James Bulger Memorial Trust and the Mary Stevens Hospice, in Stourbridge, who are helping to organise the event alongside Rose.
Local celebrities and sports stars are invited and Duncan’s cousins as well as the Mayor of Dudley and family members of other Busby Babes will be in attendance. The evening will also include a three course dinner, performances by former Mayor’s Civic Award Winners The Gentlemen Songsters and fellow winners local folk band ‘The Empty Can’, who penned the original Black Country Anthem, as well as a showing of Rose’s documentary. There will be a charity auction of signed memorabilia and a charity raffle to raise extra funds.
The event will be part funded through the Black Country Festival. Tickets for the event cost £45 and can be booked via the Hospice’s online booking page
Any businesses or organisations interested in sponsoring any element of the evening are invited to get in touch with event organiser Rose Monk via firstname.lastname@example.org or Amanda Bowen at the Mary Stevens Hospice via email@example.com or by calling 01384 377 778.
There are a wide variety of sponsorship packages available and can be tailored to suit.
James Stevens, chairman of the Black Country Festival organising committee, said:
“The Black Country Festival is all about celebrating the great and the good of the Black Country, past and present and I can’t think of a greater way to round-off this year’s Black Country Festival activities than by performing at the Duncan Edwards Charity Gala.”
Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of Dudley Council, said:
“We are so proud that Dudley Council, through the Black Country Festival is playing a part in Duncan’s birthday celebrations. It’ll be my birthday weekend too and there’ll be money behind the bar from me, as my own way of saying thank you to the people of the borough who share a sense of civic pride and community spirit.”
Councillor Mohammed Hanif, Mayor of Dudley Council said:
“I am honoured to be taking part in this charity gala which celebrates the life and career of someone who is still so important to the people of Dudley today.
“And as a huge Man United fan myself, I am really looking forward to this evening and meeting people who are keeping Duncan’s memory alive.”
Amanda Bowen, Community Engagement Officer at Mary Stevens Hospice, said:
“As an organisation, we are immensely proud of our Black Country and the incredible community we support through such difficult times, so to be involved in an event which will do so much good and pay tribute to an iconic Dudley figure like Duncan is a real privilege.
"It’s shaping up to be a wonderful evening, and we can’t wait to see everyone on the night.”
For more information on events Black Country Festival events taking place throughout July visit www.black-country-festival.co.uk
To find out more about the work done by the James Bulger Memorial Trust, visit: www.forjames.org
To find out more about the Mary Stevens Hospice, visit: www.marystevenshospice.co.uk