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Learn more about Rotherham sporting pioneer

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A free event is being held in Rotherham this week highlighting the town’s links to a true national and international sporting pioneer – Arthur Wharton.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation is hosting an evening at the recently reopened Rotherham Civic Theatre all about the life and times of the world’s first black professional footballer and one time fastest man on the planet.

Based in Darlington, where Arthur was first spotted playing football in the 1880s, the foundation was created to acknowledge and celebrate the life and achievements of a true national and international sporting pioneer and trailblazer. 

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The foundation does this through education and events aimed at promoting equality and diversity in order to impact the hearts and minds of a generation. 

The Rotherham event on Friday September 10 is free to attend with tickets booked here.

Wharton was born in Ghana, which was then a colony of the British Gold Coast; in 1865, moving to England when he was a teenager. Not just skilled with a ball, he was a true all-round athlete. In 1886 he became the Amateur Athletics Association’s national 100-yard running champion – and became the first man to run 100 yards in ten seconds flat.

Wharton made history in Rotherham when he returned to football in 1889, joining Rotherham Town, signing as a professional – the world’s first black professional footballer.

Images: RUFC

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Tom Austen
Tom grew up in Aston, Rotherham and studied Human Geography at Nottingham Trent University before developing a passion for promoting Rotherham and a nose for a good story.

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