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Eagles Foundation appoint Heritage Project Officer


The Eagles Foundation are delighted to announce the appointment of Richard King as the Foundation’s first Heritage Project Officer. 

Richard will deliver the project “Sheffield Eagles – the story of a Rugby League club battling against the odds” which recently secured £93,650 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This two year project will record and share the heritage of the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Football Club for the first time through:

· Researching the archives of the club, in Sheffield Archives and at the Rugby Football League

· The digitisation of key documents and items from the club’s past which will then be catalogued and built into an online database, making them searchable and more widely accessible.

· Collecting the stories of officials, players, supporters and coaches from throughout the life of the club, recording and filming their stories.

· Training and supporting volunteers to take part in the project

· Sharing the stories through a website, pop-up exhibitions, learning packs, publications, films, podcasts, events and public talks

· Working with the local community within the immediate area around the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the wider city to involve them in the activities

There are many stories to be told and shared about the club - its history, the players and the fans. It’s a story of a Rugby League team outside the game’s traditional heartlands, in a football dominated city, facing many challenges. These stories have never been collected or shared and this project presents the opportunity to look back to where the club has come from and to look forward positively at a time of change.

The project builds on the successes of the Foundation over the last two years with the appointment of Andrea Dobson as the development officer and the creation of a wheelchair and women’s team, with more activities planned over the next year.

The project will work with the existing supporters of the Club, potential new fans, past and present players of the club, past and present coaching staff, those involved in establishing the club, heritage enthusiasts, local schools and the broader community of Sheffield. The project is not just focused on those interested in Rugby League but those interested in history, those who live in the area and those who aren’t interested in Rugby or history but are keen to get involved in interesting projects and hear interesting stories.

David Butler, Chairperson of the Eagles Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to appoint Richard as the person to lead the project.” 

“He is a long term supporter of the Sheffield Eagles but also has a background in establishing and managing successful community focused heritage projects funded by the Heritage Fund. 

“This is an exciting time for the Foundation and the Club with the return to a permanent home in the city after 8 years away, so the project is perfectly timed.

“We are very grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for providing the funding for this very exciting project and would like to thank everyone who plays the National Lottery which generates funding for projects such as ours.

“We can’t wait to get started with the project and to see what stories we discover and share with people. With the recent first game of the Sheffield Eagles wheelchair and the first game for Sheffield Eagles Women’s team coming soon it is clear that there continue to be even more stories to be collected and told.”

Richard King, Heritage Project Officer, said: “I can’t wait to start in the job and am really looking forward to collecting and sharing the stories of the Club over the last 38 years,” 

“As a supporter of the Club since 1989 I’ve lived through the high and lows - from the Challenge Cup win in 1998 to the loss of the club in its original form and the new club starting in 2000. 

“Throughout my working life I’ve been involved in a variety of community, arts and heritage projects. I’ve been fortunate to lead Heritage Fund projects before, that have won awards and brought stories to life so I look forward to bringing that experience to this project.”

“I’m looking forward to hearing directly from the players, coaches and supporters about their stories. It’s going to be really interesting finding the memorabilia they may have, working with volunteers and sharing the stories through a new website, exhibitions, publications, talks, films and podcasts. 

“This project isn’t just for fans though - it’s about anyone who is interested in sport, in heritage or interesting stories. I’m looking forward to working with as wide a range of people as possible and celebrating the way the Sheffield Eagles have survived against all the odd.”

Richard will start in post on 4th April 2022, with the project running until March 2024.