Help needed to restore headstone of forgotten Sheffield sporting champion

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A restoration group in Sheffield is seeking funds to restore the headstone of a world famous Sheffield sporting champion from 150 years ago.

The headstone of George Littlewood, who was also known as the ‘Sheffield flyer’, has recently been rediscovered by Darnall Cemetery Group.

Born in Rawmarsh in 1859, he was the son of a steelworker who was raised in Attercliffe.

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He led the craze of ‘pedestrianism’ – race walking – and was said to have regularly run between Sheffield and Doncaster as part of his training.

Kenneth Littlewood, with his grandfather George Littlewood's photograph and banner.Kenneth Littlewood, with his grandfather George Littlewood's photograph and banner.
Kenneth Littlewood, with his grandfather George Littlewood's photograph and banner.

George became a champion marathon runner and walker, with World Championship and British Championship belts to his name.

He passed away in Sheffield in 1912 but still holds the six-day world record for walking.

Now Darnall Cemetery Group would like to restore his headstone as a tribute to him and for his relatives who are alive today.

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The group helps reconnect relatives with their deceased loved ones by locating their graves and keeping the graveyards tidy.

George Littlewood (1859-1912), pictured in 1888.George Littlewood (1859-1912), pictured in 1888.
George Littlewood (1859-1912), pictured in 1888.

Group member Jacqueline Ball, said: “Members feel it would be so nice if the headstone could be restored to its former glory as a tribute to a famous Sheffield lad’s mark on the world stage.”

They are hoping to reach out to organisations or individuals who might be able to financially support the restoration.

A distant relative who recently joined the group said it would mean ‘something special’.

Darnall Cemetery group can be found on Facebook here.

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The cemetery lies in the middle of Darnall and is a suntrap throughout the summer.

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