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When Pele came to Lymm ...

An extraordinary story of how a Cheshire village welcomed the world's greatest football team, Brazil and the world's greatest footballer, Pele. 

In 1963, Hilton Gosling, the Brazil team doctor, had the task of finding the team's base for the next World Cup. The Lymm Hotel was selected as well as two neighbouring houses making way to welcome its famous guests!

There seems to have been plenty of times to relax with Hotel owner, Mr Roger Allen,  taking many photos. Forty years later, the album turned up at auction and was bought by local collector, Neil Perkins.

When the Heritage Group came up with the idea for this Brasilymm event, it could never quite have been imagined what a success it would be.  It fired the imagination of the media; BBC Homepage, Granada Reports, local radio interviews in Manchester and Merseyside, plus the local press  to name  but a few.  The coverage also meant the event drew in an audience from far and wide and welcomed around 600 visitors over the three and a half days -  including the Gala Opening on February 21st, 2016.  Also included were visits from two school classes, a group from Bright Futures, a community specialist education centre and the local Youth Club.  (Our visitor book provides a great record of people's memories and responses!). 

It was a great team effort from design to set-up and then to manning the event and in all, the Heritage Centre had around 30 volunteers involved.  We also had huge support from the Lymm Hotel, both practical and financial,  and especially Manager, Jamie McDonald.

The event however, would not have been possible without our exhibit donors of course,  Neil Perkins and Paul Timperley who deserve a special mention.  Neil, for access to his huge collection of football memorabilia and Paul, for the generous loan of the Pele kit. 

The #WHERE'SPELE campaign, where we moved a life-size cut-out of Pele round the village was another hit and was used to launch our social media platforms.  So thanks to the eight local businesses who gave Pele a home in the lead up to the event!

Brazilymm has also facilitated stronger relationships with other Heritage organisations, particularly the National Football Museum and Warrington Museum.

The event also ran a flash fiction writing competition for Year 5 and Year 6 school groups in conjunction with other local groups.  The display boards were later used to mount short temporary events for groups such as the Community Centre Senior Social and with a  collection of “post-cards from 1966” from people’s memories of the visit.

The event also launched the 100 Friends in 100 Days campaign as another means to help secure a viable future for the Centre. 

A Financial Boost for Heritage Centre ...

The whole event  made a considerable profit of between £1,500 and £2,000 - a valuable supplement for Heritage Centre funds, not including new Friends memberships.  This was thanks largely again, to the input of the Lymm Hotel, whose generous donation of food, drink accommodation and football tickets enabled making the Gala Opening a ticketing event. Further revenue arose from a prize draw, merchandise sales and donations at the door.

All in all, a great learning experience plus great fun too ... and a great advert for Lymm!




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