Commemorating Walter Tull
One hundred years after his death, the achievements of Walter Tull, the first man of black heritage to become an officer in the British Army, are to be celebrated in Northampton through a series of commemorative events.
The events begin with a free Centenary Memorial Service in the Guildhall Courtyard on Saturday, 24 March at 1pm. During this service visitors can join Cllr Gareth Eales, the Mayor of Northampton in front of the Walter Tull statue as he, the Princess of Wales’s Regiment and members of Walter’s family share a few words and lay wreaths.
Following this service, Walter Tull’s story will be told by his biographer Phil Vasili in the Great Hall. Talks titled Racism in Football: Historical and Contemporary Issues by Dr Steven Bradbury, Loughborough University and Walter Daniel Tull: Standing on the Shoulder of a Pioneering Giant by Tony Whelan, Manchester United Youth department football coach will also be shared with the audience.
The commemorations continue on Sunday, 25 March with a procession and civic service at All Saints Church. A commemorative service will take place in All Saints Church at 5pm, with representatives from the football club, the regiment and Walter’s family reading lessons during the evening event.
Finally, Northampton Town Football Club’s Chaplain will lead a short ceremony at 2pm at the Walter Tull Memorial, ahead of a commemorative match against Charlton Athletic on Friday, 30 March. Moulton College will also lead a short memorial piece, before the games starts at 3pm.
Cllr Gareth Eales, Mayor of Northampton, said: “Working with our partners and community groups in the area, we have created a programme of events to commemorate the life of Walter Tull and honour his pioneering spirit.
“Many of us also view him as a local treasure and as such I encourage the town to join us at these event to help us mark the centenary anniversary of his death.”
Cll Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Walter Tull is a great and inspiring figure in Northampton’s history. Along with these commemoration events, we were keen to see his achievements recognised permanently in the town and so commissioned a statue of Walter for the Guildhall last year and have included him in our interactive ghost hunt.”
Chairman of Northampton Town Football Club, Kelvin Thomas, added: “As a club, we are very proud of our role in the community of Northampton, we are very proud of our history and we are very proud that Walter Tull was a Cobbler.
"We will be playing a full part in the programme of tributes to remember Walter. Walter was an inspiration to many and it is appropriate the town comes together to remember a great man who left a lasting legacy."
Please note that tickets for the talks being held on 24 March need to be pre-booked. Bookings can be made at 01604 838110.
Tickets for the commemorative football match can be purchased at www.ntfcdirect.co.uk