Sunderland Stadium To Celebrate The Life Of Harry Williams


04 June 2024

The north-east greyhound racing community will celebrate the life of Sunderland Stadium’s first owner and legend of the sport Harry Williams later this month, a year after his death. 

The Newcastle Road venue will host its first Harry Williams Memorial Race Night on Friday, June 28, in memory of its previous owner - who passed away on July 7 last year, aged 82.  

A passionate breeder and trainer, Williams – affectionately known as greyhound racing’s Geordie Gentleman – trained the winner of the Scottish Greyhound Derby in 1993 with New Level and was one the sport’s most recognisable owners. 

But it was his achievements off the track which continue to influence Sunderland Stadium’s operation, even to this day. In 1988, he and businessman Terry Robson invested over £1million towards the stadium’s regeneration which saw it become licensed by the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC). 

Sunderland has remained a venue for licensed greyhound racing since, and now hosts four weekly fixtures including Friday evenings and Sunday daytime. 

Hospitality boxes on the night are already sold out, with the final of the £7,500 Arena Racing Company Puppy Cup headlining a 12-race card filled with supporting opens each named in honour of some of Harry’s most successful dogs.

The inaugural Harry Williams Memorial Trophy will also be held over 450m and the Harry Williams Blue Artisan British Bred final worth £1,500 to the winner, sponsored by the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF). 

Joanne Wilson, general manager at Sunderland Stadium, first worked at the track under Harry’s ownership and hopes to see a strong turnout on the night.  

“Harry was greyhound racing through and through,” said Joanne. “His passing last summer came as a huge loss to everyone, and we all miss him dearly.

“Our first Harry Williams Memorial Race Night will be a great occasion, and celebrate a man whose influence on greyhound racing in the north-east is still felt to this day. 

“We’re sure there’ll be plenty of stories and memories re-lived through the night, and we encourage those who knew Harry to turn out in force and make it one to remember.” 

Fundraisers from north-east homing charity Durham and District Retired Greyhounds will be in attendance on the night, raising funds to help the charity’s work finding retired greyhounds suitable homes when their careers end. 

Tickets for Sunderland Stadium’s Harry Williams Memorial Race Night on Friday, June 28, are on sale now and available to purchase by clicking here. Doors open at 6.15pm with the first race starting at 7.08pm.

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