THE emergence of a medal from one one of the district’s most successful football teams has rekindled memories of Hexham Hearts.

The coin-sized sterling silver disc was awarded to goalkeeper Maurice Edgar after the Hearts’ historic Northumberland Senior Cup victory in 1949.

Discovered by football memorabilia enthusiast David Copland, of North Yorkshire, the medal was listed for sale on internet auction site eBay last week.

Mr Copland said that despite much interest, the medal had not yet been sold, and was due to be re-auctioned at the end of this week.

The Courant’s coverage of the medal brought back vivid memories for 82-year-old David Hall.

Born and bred in Hexham, he was the son of Hearts’ manager George Hall, and regularly performed the role of team mascot.

At the age of just 13, he led the team out in front of a crowd of 14,000 at St James’s Park on that famous day in 1949, when Hexham defeated Blyth Spartans 3-0, courtesy of a Stevie Howdon hat-trick.

“It was remarkable,” he said. “Blyth were overwhelming favourites, but we had some good players and a tremendous spirit.

“Ned Robson had previously played for Portsmouth and Sunderland, while both Edgar and Howdon had played for Newcastle United during the war years.

“I remember the celebrations in the team bath afterwards. We came back to Hexham on the team bus and drove around town with the cup. Word quickly spread that we’d won. It was magical.

“All the players received medals, even I got one. I think my father must have paid extra for me to have one, and I still treasure it.

A butcher with a shop in Hexham’s Market Place, George Hall served on the committee of the football club, originally known as Hexham Athletic, before becoming team manager in 1943.

His son recalled an ambitious period shortly after the war, when Hexham won the Ryton & West Tyne League, and also moved their home ground, from the Sele, to Tyne Mills.

“I remember them building the huts, roughly where Hexham Mart is now,” he said. “They built the dressing rooms, and there was a place where you could buy Bovril and suchlike. They changed the name to Hexham Hearts, and moved into the Northern Alliance League.”

The switch saw the new Hearts’ side take on the North-East’s top amateur teams, including Morpeth Town, Alnwick Town, and Newcastle United’s third team.

Hexham Hearts enjoyed a near-invincible season during 1946-47, and competed in the FA Cup between 1948 and 1956, reaching the fourth qualifying round in 1954. Among their achievements, Hexham won the Northern Alliance League Cup, and also the Aged Minors’ Homes Cup, before Mr Hall Snr stepped down as manager in 1953, due to increasing business commitments. He remained involved as a committee member.

David recalled Newcastle legend Jackie Milburn attending a match at Tyne Mills, to watch Hexham take on United’s third team, and Ted Roblido, the brother of United’s Chilian centre forward George Roblido, turning out at Hexham for Newcastle III.

“We had a great relationship with Newcastle United,” he said. “When they won the FA Cup in 1953, they brought it to Hexham and it was paraded around the pitch at Tyne Mills.”

Now retired and living in Morpeth, David described how Hexham Hearts helped launched the career of former Fulham, Norwich City, and Charlton Athletic player Johnny Summers.

He said the Londoner was based at Hexham Hospital during the war, and needed a platform to develop his footballing talents, before moving into the professional game.

David went on to spend 13 years living in Australia, where he worked as a painter and decorator.

His jobs included painting railway billboards in Sydney. After returning to the UK, he worked as a prison officer at Acklington, before moving to Morpeth to work as a maintenance painter for Northgate Hospital.