Delight as our readers hit the target for memorial on unmarked grave of Doncaster steam train speed record driver

Less than a week ago we launched a Free Press campaign for a memorial on the unmarked grave of legendary Doncaster train driver Joe Duddington.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 12:30 pm

And today we can announce that our readers have helped smash the £2,000 target for the monument in just a few days.

In fact, £5,000 has now been donated to the appeal by Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery.

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3rd June 1938: Fireman T H Bray on the left and next to him Driver R J Duddington who made history by driving the LNER locomotive 'Mallard' at 125mph. They are in the dynamometer car at Kings Cross station, London studying the instruments which recorded the record-breaking feat. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

It means that work will go ahead to put a headstone on the unmarked grave of Mr Duddington, who was the driver of the locomotive Mallard on the day it broke the world speed record for a steam engine, in 1938 – a record that still stands today. It reached 126mph.

We have helped the friends group raise the money in just under a week, since we launched our campaign on our website.

Now we will follow the progress of the memorial until it is put in place.

Lynsey Slater, spokeswoman for Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery thanks our readers for their support in raising the money so quickly.

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She said the money that has been raised would be used to add more features to explain how Joe and his firemen, Tommy Bray, became world record breakers.

She said: “We have gone from £1,000 to £5,000 in a week.Originally the target was £2,000 for a just a headstone. This means we can get a headstone, kerbing, decorative stones and something explaining what he did. The response has been phenomenal.

“It is a testimony to the communities that have helped, the Free Press readers, the way it has snowballed. People have been so generous.”

She said the work would now move on to looking at the design of the memorial, with a mock-up set to be created that they will be able to see, allowing them to look at the different options that may be available.

They are looking at the possibility of a picture of Mallard also being part of the memorial.

Matt Delaney, Joe Duddington’s great grandson, has also backed our campaign and is keen to see a memorial in place to recognise what his great grandfather did.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.