Joe Duckworth, born on the 29th April, 1898, at number 4 James Street, was the son to Walter Albert Duckworth and Elizabeth Ellen Bibby, who had previously been married at Saint Peter and Paul's church in 1890, grew up to become an English professional football goalkeeper.
His father Walter Albert Duckworth who was born in Rishton in 1869, became secretary of the Blackburn Weavers Protection Society.
Joe signed up for the army on 22nd of May 1914, but on the 4th July 1914 his father sent the following letter on Society headed paper.
I make application on behalf of my son for his discharge from the army. I enclose a birth certificate which shows he enlisted through misdescription. Although personally I should be prepared to give every assistance in supporting the army, believing in conscription, I feel that I ought to give my son another opportunity in life until he becomes of a mature age. Trusting you will give this your serious consideration, and thanking you in anticipation. I am,
Yours Respectfully, Walter A Duckworth "
Joe was discharged from the army on the 20th July 1914.
Duckworth began his career with Accrington Stanley, but made his league debut in the first season after the first world war for Blackburn Rovers. He played 5 times in the league for Rovers before joining Aberdare Athletic.
He was part of the Aberdare side in their first season in the Football League, playing 84 league games over the next 3 years. In 1924 he moved to Reading where he the regular goalkeeper for six seasons. he left Reading in 1930, having made over 200 league appearances, joining Brighton & Hove Albion. In 1932, after 37 league games for Brighton, he joined York City, playing a further seven league games before ending his league career.
His Division Three (South) championship medal, won with Reading in the 1925-26 season, was found in a car boot sale in Manchester in 1991.
Walters letter supplied by Dave Haworth via email.