Durham Amateur Football Trust celebrates 10th anniversary

A GROUP set up to commemorate the glory days of amateur football in County Durham is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

The Durham Amateur Football Trust (DAFT) has come a long way since its launch 10 years ago by two sports enthusiasts who struck up a conversation at a Darlington FC game in 2003.

The pair, John Phelan from Howden-le-Wear, near Crook, and Keith Belton from Stockton-on-Tees, discovered they shared a passion for football history, in particular the amateur cup teams of the 1950s.

Aware of the public appetite for nostalgia, they decided to set up DAFT to showcase photographs, match footage and memorabilia from the era.

Mr Belton, trust chairman, who grew up in Witton-le-Wear, near Bishop Auckland, said: “We wanted to remember and celebrate the glory days of the 1950s when North-East clubs such as Bishop Auckland, Crook and Willington won lots of cups and played in front of 100,000 people at Wembley.

“Over the last ten years we have held exhibitions and given presentations in schools, libraries, community centres and history societies across the country.

“We have also formed links with the National Football Museum in Manchester and Beamish Museum.”

Mr Phelan added: “We are delighted DAFT has attracted so much interest and support. It is important to look after the memorabilia for future generations to see and enjoy.”

DAFT, which has an office at Locomotion in Shildon, is looking to recruit new volunteers with an interest in amateur football. Contact Mr Belton on 07764361362 or visit thedaft.org.uk to find out more.

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