100 Years of Coconuts, Cambridge Fans United’s (CFU) online museum of Cambridge United history, has received a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enable it to open a ‘real life’ exhibit on the football club’s history at the Abbey Stadium.
Led by volunteers including supporters and local residents, the £50,000-plus project will tell the U’s story via an exhibit in the Cambridge United Supporters’ Club and pop-up displays at museums and community events. Visits to schools are also being planned, and students will be invited to the exhibit to learn how their local League football club has developed as part of their community.
The exhibit and pop-ups will consist of displays of documents, photography, artefacts and memorabilia, plus interpretative material and rolling oral history video displays.
The HLF funding will also support the establishment of a Cambridge United Former Players’ Association and a U’s Hall of Fame.
CFU, the Cambridge United supporters’ trust, launched 100yearsofcoconuts.co.uk in 2012 as United celebrated its centenary, having been founded as Abbey United in 1912. CFU Chairman David Matthew-Jones said: “The fantastic news of the HLF funding has inspired us all to take Coconuts project to another level.
“With the support of the HLF, the club and its Community Trust, we will be able to tell the extraordinary story of how Abbey/Cambridge United grew out of the Barnwell community and has continued to reflect and serve that community, while expanding its appeal and influence to a much wider region.
“Cambridge United is more than a football club. It’s also about people working together on and off the pitch to make lives better – and it’s always been that way.
“There is a fascinating story to be told about people working hard and selflessly to achieve their goals, on and off the pitch. We are so pleased to be able to tell that story.
“We are also excited about the creation of a former players’ association and hall of fame. We see all these initiatives as a way of bringing the Cambridge United extended family closer together.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “We are looking forward to hearing about the fascinating stories that emerge about the history of Cambridge United. It is a unique opportunity to capture and record the memories of players and supporters and to share their heritage with the wider community.”
The two-year HLF-funded project will begin in June. Meanwhile, supporters and others can gain a taste of things to come at the Abbey People Big Lunch on Sunday, June 7, 12 noon at Dudley Road recreation ground. Coconuts volunteers will man a stall and coconut shy.