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Lover of words. Usually found with a book or a pen in my hand.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A footie rematch 100 years on

Grandma didn’t talk much about her past but sometimes I could get her to reminisce and I love the stories she told of times gone by. I’m slowly putting together a family memory book to pass on to my children because although we can read about the past in history books, to me, it’s the personal little memories that are so important. They give me a sense of who my relatives are (or were in the case of my grandparents, sadly all now gone). One of my favourites of grandma’s is the tale of when her parents decided to have electricity in their home. They could only afford to convert one room – the parlour. Can you imagine? It must have been so exciting to have light at the flick of a switch – but in one room only!

Another story that grandma told me was about her father, Alexander Charlesworth. He was the eldest of eleven brothers (and he had sisters, too!). His father must have had a great sense of humour because he placed an advertisement in a local newspaper challenging any other families with eleven brothers to a football match.

Charlesworth Brothers (top)
and Coverdale Brothers

And surprisingly, a family responded and the match was arranged. On the appointed day the Charlesworths made their way from Scunthorpe to Hull to play against the Coverdale family. This was just a few months before World War I broke out and sadly their world was to change as all the brothers of both families went to war but not all returned.

Charlesworth Team
The historian, Rick Glanvill discovered the story and I believe he brought it to the attention of the BBC. For me, the story was family folklore and I never really thought much about it. But obviously it was quite extraordinary and The One Show thought so, too. They kindly arranged a rematch in October last year at the Airco Arena in Hull and all descendants of the Charlesworth and Coverdale families were invited to play. This time it was a five-a-side game with players alternating regularly so that everyone who wanted to play had the opportunity. It was great fun with young and old all joining in and the camaraderie of the day was wonderful.

Me with Alfred and LD
I got to meet relatives I didn’t know about and discovered the lady who lived next-door-but-one when I was growing up is a Charlesworth descendant, too – we had great fun reminiscing about the old street and neighbours. And I met one of my grandma’s cousins, Alfred, who told me all he knew about my great-grandfather, Alexander – more snippets for my family memory book.
The Brothers' Cup

At the end of the day, the BBC presented the teams with their very own cup: The Brothers’ Cup and hopefully we’ll have regular rematches. Well, we need to! The score in 1914 was 3-0 to the Coverdales and this year we did a little better but still lost with the Coverdales scoring 7 goals…….and the Charlesworths…….6 goals. But it was a great match – the best I’ve ever been to.

The piece was aired on The One Show on 19th January and my claim to fame is a shot of me exclaiming: ‘It was amazing!' If you'd like to see the clip, you can find here on the BBC's The One Show programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06wd8dj/the-one-show-19012016



  1. That is a fascinating story, Jane. What a wonderful piece of family history brought to life.

  2. Thanks, Beatrice - I adore this story and it is certainly a chapter in my family memory book. I also think it would be great worked as a novel.....maybe one day.