Sport Newcastle is celebrating its 50th anniversary by launching a special appeal to raise £50,000. Over the next few weeks we will look back on some of the personalities and events which have enriched the sporting life of our city over the past half century.
Sport Newcastle is a registered charity supporting grassroots sport and has provided more than £2.5 million in financial grants to young talent, sports clubs and events.
THE EARLY YEARS
The Sport Newcastle story is a fascinating tale spanning seven decades. In the early days it was a very different organisation and few could have predicted it would become one of the major players in North East sport by the turn of the century.
The big change of direction came after 10 years when the Annual Dinner was first held. The funds raised gave the Sports Council the chance to hand out grants to young athletes and encourage the best of grassroots sport.
Much of this new impetus was due to the appointment of Malcolm Dix who took over as Chairman in 1977. For the next 40 years, Malcolm held just about every role in the organisation including his current positions of Secretary and President. His life time commitment to local sport has helped hundreds of young people along the path to sporting success.
Malcolm also took charge of the Annual Dinner, introducing not just an annual Sports Personality award, but also the Wilkinson Sword and Frank Brennan Trophy which marked outstanding contributions.
The achievements of many of the region’s earlier sporting stars was acknowledged with the Wilkinson Sword presented to World Cup winner Jack Charlton, the twin pillars of Newcastle United’s Fairs Cup triumph - Joe Harvey and Bob Moncur - plus Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Brendan Foster.
The most emotive presentation of the Wilkinson Sword was to Jackie Milburn by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1987. Jackie died soon after.
And at the start of the new millennium the organisation was rebranded as Sport Newcastle to reflect its modern role and renewed ambition.