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Jack Leslie in Newham-exhibition and talk

We were delighted when Neandra Etienne curated an exhibition “Newham’s black footballers through the years” in the Canning Gallery, Canning Town (London Borough of Newham) running through October.

Naturally Jack Leslie, born in Canning Town 1901 and later living in East Ham, features heavily!

Neandra has also commissioned a blue plaque, currently in the exhibition, later to go on the exterior wall of the house where Jack lived.

Jack takes centre stage for an event on Monday 18th October, when Greg and Matt will tell Jack’s story, and will be joined by sculptor Andy Edwards, soon to start work on Jack’s statue.

Meeting them for the first time in person, will be Jack’s grand-daughters, who are visiting London for the talk and to see the exhibition.

Doors open 5.15 pm for a look at the exhibition, and the talk starts at 6pm. The event is free, but requires pre-booking via this link:

TIMINGS (approximate)

5pm doors open (opportunity to view exhibition)

6-6.45pm Jack Leslie Campaign Talk about Jack Leslie:-

-Greg Foxsmith on Jack in East London (Newham and Barking)

Matt Tiller on Jack’s move to Plymouth, England call -up, and return to East London

6.45pm Matt Tiller performs ‘the ballad of Jack Leslie”

6.50-7.20 -Introduce Jack’s family, sculptor Andy Edwards, and Q and A

7.20 -7.30 wrap up

(This is one of a series of talks- see here for details of other events:

Jack Leslie Campaign: Black History month 2021

October is Black History Month, and once again the Jack Leslie Campaign is ready and willing to deliver presentations about Jack’s story. 

Racism in sport and football continues, as we have seen over the last year with players being booed for taking the knee, racist abuse of England’s black footballers after the Euros, and ongoing issues with abuse on-line.

We therefore like to contrast the historical example of Jack Leslie’s exclusion from the England team on the basis of the colour of his skin, with contemporary issues, using Jack’s story to engage with audiences. History is nothing if we cannot learn from it, and Black History Month is an opportunity to engage with issues and stories otherwise ignored.

Artist Andy Edwards has started work on the statue- we will post a fuller update on progress soon. And of course our fund-raising continues, to enable us to deliver the best possible statue. However, the aims and objectives of the campaign have always included sharing the Jack Leslie story, and using that to challenge prejudice and discrimination. 

Last year Sky Sports featured the Jack Leslie Campaign as part of their presentations, and you can watch the fantastic film here

This year we will engage with schools, organisations, football-clubs and fan-groups, and businesses or commercial/corporate bodies. 

For Schools 

We love presenting the Jack Leslie story as part of an assembly, in person or remotely. 

For businesses/Companies

We present at corporate level, as a discussion platform for companies or organisations who are interested in engaging with black history. Last year that included e.g.  presentations with the CPS, the General Dental Council and Kingsley Napley solicitors. Our presentations are interactive, challenging but fun. Contact us for details!

This year we are delighted and proud to feature and participate in an exhibition in Newham, as well as a number of presentations throughout the month, starting with a virtual event with Norfolk libraries on October 4th- you can book here

To contact us to book a presentation or event, contact Greg or Matt.

Artist for statue confirmed!

The Jack Leslie Statue –  Sculptor Announced!

Exactly one year after the launch of our Crowdfunder appeal, the Jack Leslie Campaign are delighted to announce the sculptor for a statue of Jack Leslie, to be situated outside Plymouth Argyle’s stadium, Home Park.

After careful consideration, including thorough interviews of the four shortlisted candidates, the Campaign can now confirm the successful artist as……


Andy Edwards is a renowned sculptor, with a wealth of experience in delivering iconic sporting statues.

Examples of his work include:

-the acclaimed “Clough/Taylor” statue at Derby County’s Pride Park

-the Notts County legends Jimmy Sirrel and Jack Wheeler at  Meadow Lane

– the highly regarded sculpture of Stanley Matthews at Stoke City.

You can see more examples of his work at

Andy’s work also includes statues of The Beatles, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and civil rights campaigner and slavery abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Andy works primarily in Liverpool, but he has pledged to use web-cams and social media to document his progress.

This means that supporters of the Crowdfunded statue can watch its progress, wherever they are in the world.

Andy will be visiting Plymouth shortly to look at the location, meet the Campaign Committee and, of course, to take in an Argyle match.  

Andy’s tender for the Jack Leslie statue project was made in partnership with Monumental Icons,

But this is very much a personal project for Andy and one that inspires him greatly.

On hearing the news of his selection, Andy said, ” I am eternally grateful and very excited to have been chosen to work with the devoted members of the Jack Leslie statue group, the proud fans of Plymouth Argyle Football Club and the wider football community in furthering all of our appreciation of a real legend of the game, and a man whose story can still affect change nearly 100 years on. I hope to create a statue of peerless quality celebrating excellence, that will also represent respect, dignity, devotion and invigorate the quest for equal rights for all. To everyone who has given their support and backing to this initiative, I will not let you down.” 

Campaign co-founder Greg Foxsmith said “We are delighted to give Andy this commission, but we would also like to thank all of the shortlisted artists who spent so much time and energy on creating such brilliant proposals. It made it really difficult for us to make the final decision

Jack’s granddaughter Lesley said “We love the range of ideas, and we look forward to working with Andy to see a statue that is an accurate portrayal of Grandad

Campaign co-founder Matt Tiller said “ we have been impressed with Andy’s portfolio, his artistic vision, and his commitment to the project. Together with the team at Monumental Icons, we are confident that Andy will deliver an outstanding statue and a lasting legacy for Jack Leslie”

The campaign will now be reaching out to companies and businesses in the South West, with commercial sponsorship opportunities for an accompanying film of the project, landscaping, lighting, and enhancing the statue’s surroundings. All sponsors will be recognised on the statue plinth.


Jack signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking in 1921 and scored 137 goals in his 13 years with The Pilgrims. The pinnacle of his career should have been in 1925 when Jack was selected to represent England in a game versus Ireland, but his name was removed from the team sheet when officials discovered that he was black. (See Jack’s story)

The Jack Leslie Campaign was set up in 2019 by a couple of Argyle fans (Matt and Greg) who had learned of the story, and they were soon joined by a diverse team of volunteers .

The Aims of the Campaign: 

  1. To raise funds for and build a statue of Jack Leslie at Home Park, Plymouth
  2. To promote and share Jack’s story.
  3. To celebrate diversity and combat racism.

History of the Campaign and Commissioning Process

On 1st July 2020 the Campaign launched a crowd-funded appeal,  eventually raising over £100k. 

In December 2020 we threw out an invitation to prospective sculptors to express an interest.

In February 2021 we began commissioning: 

In March 2021 the committee, together with Jack’s grand-daughters, Lynn Gill and Lesley, reviewed the initial submissions. They were blown away by the quality, imagination and scope of the proposals, before drawing up a long list and eventually a short-list of four finalists 

Crowdfunder appeal is still live, and you can support us here:

Statue: Sculptor Shortlist announced!

After an overwhelming response from exceptionally talented artists, the campaign can announce its shortlist.

The Jack Leslie Campaign is working towards a lasting monument to this pioneering football legend and is delighted to announce the four short-listed candidates to design and sculpt the statue, which will be situated outside Plymouth Argyle’s stadium, Home Park.

Through March the committee reviewed artist submissions and were blown away by the quality, imagination and scope of the proposals, before drawing up a long-list. The commissioning team is made up of the committee, together with Jack’s grand-daughters, Lynn, Gill and Lesley. 

Campaign Co-founder Greg Foxsmith said, “We would like to thank all the artists who spent such time and energy on creating such brilliant proposals. It made it really difficult for us to select a shortlist but there were four artists whose ideas and portfolios stood out.

The short-list:- 


ANDY EDWARDS (In association with MONUMENTAL ICONS:  / 



Jack’s grand-daughter Lesley said, “We love the design ideas and we are excited to see a statue that is an accurate portrayal of Grandad and reflects his significance in football history.”

Jack Leslie Campaign co-founder, Matt Tiller, said, “It’s such an important decision that we are taking great care working with everyone involved to create a fitting memorial. We will now be interviewing the short-listed candidates and, no doubt, have an even harder time ahead choosing the final sculptor but we are excited at the prospect.” 

More Information on the campaign and process to date:

Jack Leslie signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking in 1921 and scored 137 goals in his 13 years with The Pilgrims. The pinnacle of his career should have been in 1925 when Jack was selected to represent England in a game versus Ireland, but his name was removed from the team sheet when officials discovered that he was black. (See Jack’s story)

The Jack Leslie Campaign was set up in in 2019 by a couple of Argyle fans (Matt and Greg) who had learned of the story, and they were soon joined by a diverse team of volunteers .

In July last year the Campaign launched a crowd-funded appeal, and smashed it’s   £100,000 target in six weeks.

In December last year we threw out an invitation to prospective sculptors to express an interest.

In February we began commissioning: 

The campaign is also keen to hear from businesses who would like to get involved. These extra funds will not only help the statue project, but also the educational work involving the monument and the Jack Leslie story. Please contact us for more information:

Statue Commissioning Started!

From the very beginning of our campaign, we were contacted by sculptors and artists excited at the opportunity to create a suitable representation of Jack. At the end of last year we threw out an invitation to any other prospective sculptors to express an interest.

Artwork by Rob Bullen

We have been delighted by the strong response, and have a large, diverse and talented pool to choose from! As promised, we have written to all potential candidates with set questions and selected criteria, in order that we can choose a “long-list”. The selection process will then continue, as we progress, together with our key partners and Jack’s family, to making the difficult final decision for the Jack Leslie Statue.

Ideally, we would still like to aim for completion of this project by the end of this year, the centenary of Jack arriving in Plymouth from Barking, but our main aim is to ensure a statue of suitable quality, so we will work with our successful candidate to confirm a realistic timetable, based on experience and factoring in the current pandemic. 

We have required all answers to our preliminary brief and questionnaire to be received by 05 March.


We do not have a specific pose in mind, but the campaign and Jack’s family do want to represent him as a player and legend of Plymouth Argyle. This will be a representation of Jack to be mounted on a plinth. Indeed, the plinth and surround are almost of equal importance as the statue.

Firstly, we want to tell Jack’s story – to remember the injustice – but also to celebrate his achievements. Secondly, we need to recognise those who have made significant contributions, making the statue possible, ensuring that it can enhance the overall concept without detracting from the sculpture. 

The location will be outside Home Park, Plymouth Argyle’s stadium. It must be able to stand the test of time and become an iconic piece of art for the club and city.

(Our prospective artists have then been set 7 questions, covering past experience, design ideas, budget, process, inclusivity and more)


If you would like updates on progress, remember to hit the subscribe button on our home-page for our email bulletins.


Campaign Co-founders Matt and Greg continue to learn about statues. Greg is blogging about some of his statue visits here. Below: Matt visits the Mary Seacole statue in London

Below: Another artist impression of a Jack Leslie statue, this time by Martin Rawson (image copyrighted)

Jack Leslie Campaign Christmas Raffle Party!

The Jack Leslie Campaign is having a “virtual” Christmas party, with special guests including singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson, and YOU are invited!
When: Saturday 19th December, 5pm-5.30pm

Where: Live on our Facebook page (

Why: To celebrate an amazing year, and to draw the Jack Leslie Raffle!

This event also supports the Campaign and Devon MIND charity

Dress code: Argyle or Christmas attire

What you need: buy a raffle ticket, grab a mince pie and a glass of Sherry, and help us celebrate the end of an amazing year, with:

*Update on Campaign

*Live raffle draw

*special guests!

Our guests include:-

Jamie Lawson

Members of Jack Leslie’s family

Former Argyle and Ipswich Town player John Peddelty

Bill HERN and David Gleave, authors of FOOTBALLS BLACK PIONEERS (a signed copy of which will be a bonus raffle prize!)

And more….

Christmas Raffle in support of the campaign and Mind Devon

We’ve teamed with the Jack Leslie Raffle (@LeslieRaffle on Twitter) to raffle off some fantastic Plymouth Argyle items in support of both the Campaign and Mind Devon. Here’s your chance to win a wide range of Argyle Themed Prizes including

Prize 1 –  A Signed 20/21 Home Argyle Shirt by Plymouth Argyle’s 20/21 Squad

Prize 2 – A Signed 12/13  Home Argyle Shirt by Guy Branston

Prize 3 – A Signed 19/20 Home Argyle Shirt by Joel Grant

Prize 4 – A Signed 20/21 Home Argyle Shirt, signed by former player and Campaign supporter Cherno Samba!

Prize 5 – Argyle Top Trumps and Monopoly Set

Prize 6 – A Signed Pair of Gloves by Luke McCormick

Prize 7 – A Pin Set donated by COYG Badges

Prize 8 – A Signed 01/02 Home Argyle Shirt by Paul Connolly 

Prize 9- signed copy of newly published book Football’s Black Pioneers !

Just follow these Simple Instructions:

1. If you haven’t already got a PayPal Account, register at their Website or on their App.

2. Next go to this link – and donate money based on how many tickets you would want – £2 for 1, £4 for 2 etc. There is no limit on tickets. 

3. Make sure the “Paying for goods or a service” is NOT ticked.

4. Add a note with your name and a way of contacting (Phone Number, Social Media or Email) where it says “Add Note”. Make sure it is sufficiently clear for us to contact you if you win!

5. Your name is then placed into a random wheel generator, in accordance with how many tickets you have purchased (eg if you have paid £6, your name is entered 3 times)

6. The Raffle will then take place SATURDAY 19TH DECEMBER at 5:00PM! We will live stream the draw on our Facebook Page.

7. The winners will then be contacted and the prizes delivered.

Good Luck!

PS – If you win a prize other than the one you want, obviously it is yours to dispose of as you feel fit, but you can if you wish can gift your prize to either the Argyle Fans Trust or Argyle Community Trust, who can use a gift of this type to carry on their amazing work!


1 Read more about how and why we have teamed up with Devon Mind, in this personal blog from our youth ambassador and raffle organiser Jamie Burton here. (You can follow Jamie on twitter as @LeslieRaffle )

2 The Jack Leslie Campaign is able to run this small society raffle having registered with the Licensing Authority (Plymouth CC)

3 We are grateful to all at PAFC and in particular Kevin Nancekivell for supporting this raffle, and all the players and legends for donating prizes!

(See our supporters list here )

Putting our MINDs Together – guest blog by raffle founder Jamie Burton

When I first thought of the idea of raising funds by-way-of a Raffle for the Campaign I had no idea I would end up where I am now with over £3,000 raised, Youth Ambassador for the Jack Leslie Campaign itself and having talked to some of my favourite footballers.

Now in a time where festive giving is at its most important, a time where we need to look out for each other, I am pleased to announce that the Jack Leslie Raffle has partnered with Mind’s Devon Branch and will be splitting the funds of the Argyle-Edition Christmas Special Raffle between the Campaign and Mind.

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They routinely campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Mind, the Campaign Team and myself at the Raffle strongly believe that no one should have to face a mental health problem alone especially in a time of lockdowns and social distancing coming up to the Christmas Period.

It is for those reasons that I proposed to founders Greg and Matt that we do our part to help the Community, Club and City where Jack played and was tragically told he would be denied his chance to play for England as England’s first black player. There was an instant agreement that this would be an excellent plan; from that agreement I got in contact with Andre Pusey, Marketing and Fundraising Officer at Devon Mind, to speak to him about the Raffle and express our support for Mind. 

The Jack Leslie Campaign is a fantastic cause, and we’re honoured and grateful to be a part of it through the Christmas raffle. Equality and diversity are huge priorities for Devon Mind right now, and we are exploring ways in which we can better ensure that our support services reach those groups disproportionately affected by mental health problems. The campaign’s support of the charity will contribute to our efforts in this area.” – Andre Pusey, Marketing and Fundraising Officer at Devon Mind.

After finalising the details, I messaged our expert graphic and image designer James Curno, known as MayflowerD7, who has been excellent in both creating eye-catching images and graphics for the Campaign and Raffle – even creating postcards which we gave out at our workshop at The Box! He began creating the designs which you’ll see throughout the time the Argyle-Edition Christmas Special Raffle tickets are on sale for.

Which brings us here! Although I don’t want to reveal too much just yet about prizes I can say there will be over 5 Argyle-Themed Prizes including signed shirts and gaming gifts that can be won when the Raffle is launched over @LeslieRaffle on Twitter on the 9th December – so go drop a follow to keep updated!

Invitation to Sculptors

The Jack Leslie Campaign is inviting prospective sculptors to confirm their interest in creating a quality statue of Jack Leslie.

The Campaign has hit its original minimum fund-raising target, and hopes to deliver a statue at Home Park next year (2021 being the Centenary year of Jack Leslie arriving in Plymouth) .

However, our fundraising continues as we seek to create the best possible statue, on a suitable plinth with surrounding information, and lighting, as well as continuing with our education work (1).

The Campaign has already been contacted by many prospective sculptors who are enthusiastic about this fantastic opportunity. (2) This includes highly acclaimed sculptors with great experience and expertise, as well as up-and-coming artists.

Now, as the first part of the commissioning process, the Campaign is looking to cast the potential net as wide as possible, to ensure as diverse a range of ideas and expertise as possible. Candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to submit expressions of interest and are invited to contact the Campaign by mid-day on 31st December 2020 by email to

All that is required at this stage is contact details: email and telephone, and links to a website or any portfolio pieces. Please do not send written brochures or materials.

All those who have expressed an interest, both before and after this call out, will then receive further instructions on the commissioning and selection process, the criteria, and an opportunity to submit more initial design ideas to meet those criteria. 

On receipt of these, the co-founders, who have taken advice from experts in the field and will continue to do so (3), will draw up an initial “long-list” to be discussed with the committee and family.

After further enquiries including interviews, a final short-list will be compiled before the difficult but exciting decision is made to select and commission the final winning design.

At the appropriate stages, the Campaign will consult with key partners and, of course, Jack’s family.

But for now, we are taking the first step, by throwing out an invitation to sculptors to get in touch, and for the public to spread the word to encourage as many talented artists as possible to contact us.


1 The campaign is particularly keen to hear from businesses who would like to get involved. These extra funds will not only help the statue project, but also the educational work involving the monument and the Jack Leslie story. Please contact us for more information:

2 Some sculptors have already submitted design ideas, and even maquettes (a scaled model of what a prospective statue may look like). These are all welcome, but no promises or commitments have been made, and the formal process starts now.

3 The Campaign is also interested in taking advice from those from or with links to diverse communities. If funds allow, we shall consider hiring a creative consultant in this area. As we intend to spend the money raised so far on creating the statue, we would love a company to sponsor this area of project work – please get in touch if you would like to assist with this by email to

Jack Leslie Campaign and Hope FC at the Box-guest blog by Hayley Kemp

The opening of The Box in Plymouth was a much anticipated event for the Jack Leslie team as we were invited to host activities for their Black History Month sessions. 

Hayley Kemp, from Plymouth community homes and the JLC team, worked with Beth Hart from The Box to organise the BHM sessions, and describes in this guest blog below how the sessions went:

I was delighted to organise and partake in Jack Leslie themed sessions for BHM at Plymouths fantastic new museum “the Box”. The sessions included partnership work with Plymouth Hope FC, a refugee football team promoting integration through sport, and Rob Bullen, renowned cartoonist (follow Rob on twitter @robbybullen)

The programme we came up with was an exciting, as well as educational one,  which involved both indoor and outdoor activities. 

The outdoor activities were football skills and tricks with members of Plymouth Hope FC and our very own Jamie Burton from the JL team.  Plymouth Hope FC had players of of 11 different nationalities, (including ”Janner!”)  Although the footballers couldn’t play outside on the first days session due to the weather, they enjoyed looking around The Box and talking to families about football and Jack. They were approached by a few families. They sat close to the entrance when stopping for a snack, which (With allowances for social distancing) encouraged discussion and interaction with visitors, including discussions around racism in football. 

On the second day play was able to commence and as well as teaching the children skills and tricks, Hope also provided entertainment for those outside in the queue waiting to go into The Box. Although one confident 10 year old advised ‘I didn’t learn any new tricks, but I liked showing mine!

The indoor activity was learning to draw cartoons with cartoonist Rob Bullen. Rob is a massive Argyle fan who has done some great pictures for the Jack Leslie campaign. Rob, Jamie and I also told the story of Jack Leslie in these sessions and showed  this amazing feature by Sky Sports about Jack Leslie and the Campaign:

The film included some previously unseen photos of Jack discovered in the archive of The Box. We had conversations with the children, making allowance for their age, by used words like “kind, unkind” and “fair, unfair”, (rather than words like discrimination & systematic racism)

The children started by drawing smiley & sad faces and progressed to drawing a picture of Jack Leslie. The sessions were in family groups all socially distanced and the families were also given one of Rob’s JL cartoons to take away as well as JL postcards designed by MayflowerD7 at the end of the sessions.  What was really great about these sessions is that the children really grasped the unfairness of JL being dropped to play for England because of the colour of his skin. Also the adults got involved with learning to draw cartoons as much as the children. 

In all 41 family groups,( 87 children and 71 adults) took part in the sessions. We had the most amazing feedback from the family groups that attended. Not just the children enjoyed it but also the adults.  Many commented that they ‘really enjoyed it all’ and ‘learnt something new’. Including one ‘granny’ who said ‘you’ve unleashed my artistic ability that I didn’t realise I had!’ One of the Dad’s said he was going to straight home to get his pencils out. ‘You’ve inspired me’. He said he’d never drawn before but loved it and realised he could draw! 

For some it was the first time they had heard about jack Leslie, ‘It’s so important to know about Jack and Plymouth- thank you.’  The parents really appreciated the message we were getting across through the jl story. One Mum with a mixed heritage family, ‘Thank you so much for doing this for our children. It’s really important that they learn about treating everyone equally and that they don’t treat anyone like us differently. I am so glad that you have put on this session. I know that Plymouth really needs this and I am so happy you’re doing it. Thank you’. And from another parent, ‘So good to learn more about Jack Leslie. I’d already heard a bit about him from the news. The population in Plymouth has changed. There are many more people from different backgrounds now’. 

It was also nice to hear that jack was still inspiring the young people. One young girl told us, ‘I want to do better with my football to be like Jack and want to switch from defence to attack when I start again’. We even helped spread the popularity of museums, one 8 year old remarked, ‘I didn’t think museums did things like this, but it’s really good.’

The Hope players and the cartoon workshop were also filmed by the BBC for the Sunday Morning Politics Show. 

It was a great piece of partnership work, not only enjoyed by the children and their parents but also by all those facilitating the workshops. JL is a great way to teach children about racism and discrimination. We hope to develop what we did at The Box and roll this out as a schools programme, as well as work more in partnership with The Box, Plymouth Community Homes and Hope FC. 

Of course the most heartening thing for us at the JL team is that through raising awareness about discrimination and racism in sport, Jack’s legacy is helping to create a more accepting and cohesive society today. 


1 Thanks to Hayley for this blog, and to Hayley, Rob, and Jamie Burton who made this event a success. Read more about them and our amazing team here