Do you remember Champion Jack? New project aims to explore the story of the Halifax resident

A new project is hoping to explore the history of one of Halifax’s most interesting residents.
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Funding has been awarded to History in Action to undertake a heritage project in Halifax.

The project aims to uncover the history of "Champion” Jack Dupree and the communities of Ovenden and Halifax as part of Historic England’s Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class History.

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"Champion” Jack Dupree"Champion” Jack Dupree
"Champion” Jack Dupree
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The project will involve working with communities in Ovenden and Halifax to explore the extraordinary story of Champion Jack, originally from New Orleans, who lived in the area in the 1960s.

During the 60s, Champion Jack and his American station wagon were a familiar, if unusual, sight around Ovenden and Halifax.

Jack had met and married local girl Shirley and their Ovenden home became the base from which he continued touring.

He worked with greats such as John Lee Hooker, BB King and Eric Clapton, all of whom stayed over after gigs to keep the party going and if they were lucky, Jack would cook up some of his favourite New Orleans food.

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Working with the community, History in Action will undertake an oral history project, recording the memories of those who knew Champion Jack or who followed the music scene in the valley at the time.

A final performance will weave together memory and music in celebration of Jack’s life.

Mick Martin, writer and project director said: "We are thrilled to be able to bring Jack's incredible story to a wider audience and to do so with his family and the people of Ovenden is a privilege.

"We have a really exciting piece of work in our sights, fusing Jack's music and own words with the first hand testimony of his loved ones, of those who knew him personally and those who found a home in Calderdale in more recent times too, in a celebration of Champion Jack and the community that embraced him."

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Jude Wright, project director, said: "It will be fascinating to discover other people's stories through this project and celebrate Halifax and Calderdale as a place of sanctuary and creativity."

There will be a chance for people to share their stories of Champion Jack at the Forest Cottage Centre, Ovenden on March 12 between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

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