1922 - 2010
We were sorry to hear of the death of Lewis Wheatman who died on February 20th 2010 in Sunderland Royal Hospital, aged 87. Lewis played 16 war time games debuting away to Leeds on September 27th 1941 having joined Sunderland in 1939 before signing for Hartlepool in 1944. Ryhope born and bred, Lewis was a blacksmith at Ryhope colliery who played as a wing half at Roker Park where he counted Raich Carter, Bobby Gurney, Patsy Gallacher and Eddie Burbanks amongst his team mates.
Although he never played a Football League or FA Cup game for the Lads, Lewis was a fascinating last playing link to those stars of the thirties and was featured in the programme’s ‘Looking for the Lads’ series just under two years ago. A stalwart of the Sunderland Former Players’ Association, Lewis was at the SFPA’s most recent event in the sports bar just before Christmas and will be a big miss at future events.
Lewis was believed to be Sunderland’s oldest surviving player, a mantle that now passes on to former England international Ivan ‘Ivor’ Broadis who was born on December 18th 1922, some six months after Lewis Wheatman.