Arthur Wharton – The Home Guard Soldier

During the First World War (WW1), there were many brave and committed individuals who served this country in whatever way they could – Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton was no exception to this.

Indeed, whilst paving the way for others in football, athletics, and a variety of other sports, Arthur Wharton was also dedicated to serving this country in its hour of need as a member of the Home Guard.

Today, 11-11-2020, we bring this little known fact to the attention of a wider audience, as both a tribute and a thank you to Arthur, and all the others who stood up to be counted during the turbulent times of WW1.

Armistice Day 2020 at the Arthur Wharton Foundation is a reminder to end hostilities in all walks of life and to work towards a better future for all.

The Foundation are currently researching Arthur’s service record about his time in the Home Guard. This is another important example of the need to connect the present, to the past, for the future.


Oh what a day….oh what a month….

Today is Arthur Wharton’s 155th Birthday anniversary and we celebrated him in style. The culmination of the last 4 weeks work in partnership with BT and BT Sport has produced lasting testament to the late, great Arthur Wharton.

Today saw us land the following:

1) a new re-platformed website – thanks so much to the D&I Guild in BT Digital for doing this. You all rock.
2) the mural….have you seen it? It’s incredible. JayKaes, we are so proud of what you have given the Foundation & the people of Darlington.
3) BT Sport Long Feature…..have you seen this? Find ANYONE you know that has BT Sport. What an amazing job from; Mike, Kevin, Rosie, Jeff. We love you all and are very proud of you. We are awaiting confirmation of the broadcasting schedule from BT, as the team were in Darlington filming the unveiling of the mural today. It’s going to be a MUST WATCH.
4) Arthur Wharton #1 – last but not least, an absolutely fantastic three minute Arthur Wharton #1 compilation – including some rather familiar faces & friends of the Foundation. Mike Rodgers – we salute you. Amazing Amazing Amazing. Proper goosebumps stuff and lump in throat. Well done, proud of your work.

All that’s left to say is a big thank you to everyone who has contributed towards making today such an incredible day.

Happy Birthday Arthur – 155th anniversary today. Memorable. Poignant. Significant.


Shaun Campbell meets Usain Bolt to share Arthur Wharton’s story

Usain Bolt with Shaun Campbell

Shaun Campbell, who campaigned to raise the profile of the world’s first black professional footballer, has ‘linked’ history with an invitation from Usain Bolt.  

Mr Campbell set up the Arthur Wharton Foundation and campaigned to honour Wharton with a 16ft bronze statue at St George’s Park, in Burton-Upon-Trent.  

Mr Campbell said the meeting with Bolt, who is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time, had been years in the making. 

Mr Campbell said: “I have been wanting to meet Usain because he is the world record holder and champion and so was Arthur Wharton, who ran for Darlington.”  

Wharton was born in 1865 in Ghana and started as an amateur playing for Darlington FC.  

Mr Campbell said: “When Usain Bolt had a stint as a professional footballer, he had a synergy with Arthur – they shared a similar history. 

“I was able to tell him the full story of Arthur and Bolt absolutely got it. Being able to expand Arthur’s story and the campaign, it was all about ‘achieving in the face of adversity’.” 

Bolt held the very trophy cup that was awarded to Arthur Wharton during the meeting at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London.