The last of the legendary Chappell brothers, Francis, passed away recently but their football lives and contribution to grass roots football will never be forgotten in this corner of England.
Their parents were Albert Chappell, who was born in Scotland, although his father was a Cornishman, and Margaret Ann Satterthwaite who was born in Grasmere. The family moved around the country because Albert was a miner and the nine siblings were born in different parts of the country before settling in Ingleton where Albert worked in the coal mine.
He helped to close down the mine when it became unviable to keep it open in about 1936.
His wife, Margaret, worked in the Bridge Hotel in Ingleton to help keep the family fed and clothed. They finally moved to Burton-in-Lonsdale where they lived on Low Street and at the old Burton pottery where they both died in the 1960s.
The first born child was Albert, who died at the age of six months in 1915, followed by two daughters, Mary and Amy, and six brothers James (Jim), Wilf, George, Thomas (Tommy), Eric and Francis.
James was often away from home working for Taylor’s fairground that toured the British Isles extensively but the other five brothers were all known in the district for their football prowess playing for Bentham United, Bentham Wanderers, Ingleboro and Horton-in-Ribblesdale but never it appears for Burton-in-Lonsdale where they lived.
The first photograph is from 1936-37 at Ingleton Council School and it shows Tommy Chappell on the front row not looking at the camera.
Corporal Tommy Chappell, second left on the back row, is pictured serving his country in Malaya 1946.
His commanding officer described him as an outstanding soldier and sportsman who also represented his battalion at football as well as being an excellent cricketer.
Although all five brothers played in the same team at the same time they do not appear on any photograph but other images regularly feature three of the brothers.
They would have played against each other from time to time as they switched loyalties between Ingleboro and Bentham no doubt being persuaded to move by either Fred Richards or Bill Waggett.
Bentham had previously folded in 1930 before being reformed after World War II in 1946-47 when they took over the fixtures of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and joined the North Lancashire League.
The “Shamrocks” as they were known played in the North Lancashire League during the war years at Springfield Park, Lancaster, which later became Ripley St Thomas School.
On March 27 1948 Bentham United defeated Waddington at Hellifield 3-2 in the final of the Craven Cup to bring the trophy to Bentham for the first time in their history.
A year later Tommy would return to the same venue against the same opponents, Waddington, and score the winning goal in a 2-1 victory but this time for Bill Waggett’s Ingleboro in front of a crowd of almost 4,000.
From 1950-51 to 1955-56 Bentham United and Ingleboro dominated the local football scene with this “Band of Brothers” making telling contributions.
Bentham United, under boss Fred Richards, won two North Lancashire League titles and then the North West Combination title plus one Craven Cup, four Senior Challenge Cups and two Senior Charity Cups as well as the small matter of lifting the prestigious Lancashire Junior Shield twice. Ingleboro, under boss Bill Wagget, won two North Lancashire League titles, one North West Combination title plus five Craven Cups, and one Senior Charity Cup.
It is doubtful whether we will ever see their like again but the faces of everyone on the streets and in the hostelries of Bentham and Ingleton and beyond will brighten at the mention of the name “Chappell.”
It was Tommy’s son Andy who provided the information and photographs to put together this tribute.
For more articles and photographs on the history of grassroots football in the Lancaster area please go to www.soccernostalgia.co.uk.