Arthur ‘kwame’ Wharton – 90 Year commemoration

Arthur Wharton's gravestone
Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton’s headstone – Edlington Lane Cemetery, Warmsworth, Doncaster

12th December 2020 – Blog Post written by Shaun Campbell

Today marked the 90th Anniversary of the death of Arthur Wharton, and what an emotional and poignant day this has been!

It was important to mark the occasion appropriately and what better way to do this than to ensure that Arthur’s headstone was put right, as it had the wrong date of his death on it since it was installed in 1997.

Arthur Wharton statue maquette, headstone and roses
The Maquette statue of Arthur Wharton at the graveside

Since that time, it was always recorded as the 13th December 1930, when in actual fact it should have been the 12th December 1930. I had asked for this to be corrected on a number of occasions, and could no longer trust that this was ever going to be done by those responsible for erecting the headstone back in 1997. The Arthur Wharton Foundation and Arthur’s family took the decision to do this, as it is an important piece of history that simply had to be put right.

Huge thanks to Craig Watson of Watson Memorials, Darlington, who undertook to do this with the greatest care and attention – and at no cost to the family or the Foundation, as Craig said “…this just has to be done, it is crucial that he is shown the respect he deserves”. Craig did this over a two day period earlier in the week and met myself and Danny at the site today, where we laid flowers and paid tribute – it was just beautiful. Even the torrential rain abated for the entire time we were at the cemetery, we like to think that Arthur had something to do with this.

Craig Watson and Craig Watson Jnr at the grave of Arthur Wharton
Craig Watson & Craig Watson Jnr of Watson Memorials, Darlington

On a personal note, this was the first time that I’ve visited the grave with a smile on my face and a sense of fulfilled purpose – the date had been severely bugging me for a long, long time now, and finally, this has been corrected!

Arthur ‘Kwame’ Wharton (Born: 28th October 1865 – Died: 12th December 1930).

Rest In Peace Arthur. Your legacy continues, with our mission 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.