Gravestone approved as memorial to record breaking Doncaster train driver Joe Duddington moves closer

A design for a headstone to mark the grave of iconic Doncaster train driver Joe Duddington has been approved by his family, ahead of moves to remember him with a memorial.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 11:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 11:58 am

Relatives of the driver who set the world speed record for a steam train in 1938 say they are happy with the proposed gravestone, and now Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery are looking at the design of a second stone, which will carry details of how Joe set the world speed record driving the loco Mallard.

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Delight as our readers hit the target for memorial on unmarked grave of Doncaste...

Joe currently lies in an unmarked grave at Hyde Park Cemetery, Doncaster.

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Matthew Delaney, Great Grandson of Joe and Helen Slade, of FOHPC, by the unmarked grave of Joe Duddington. Picture: NDFP-09-02-21-Duddington 3-NMSY

Helen Slade, secretary of Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery, which raised over £5,000 for a memorial, supported by a campaign from the Doncaster Free Press, said they hope to unveil the memorial at an event in the summer, if Covid restrictions allow.

She said: “We’ve had the preliminary design for the headstone, which has now come through, and we’re trying to finalise the stone that will go at the bottom of the grave with details about the record, next.

"The designs for the gravestone are finalised and his family has approved that.

"We are still hoping to do a dedication service on July 3. That is the anniversary of the setting of the anniversary, and it is also a Saturday this year.”

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She said there was cautious optimism the service would be able to go ahead, with Joe’s family and dignitaries present.

The Free Press launched a campaign to support the planned memorial in February, after the Friends group discovered Joe lay in an unmarked. They made the discovery when they asked where his grave was in the cemetery, which they help look after.

Joe was the driver of Mallard on its famous record-breaking run on July 3, 1938, after being hand-picked by the famous railway engineer Sir Nigel Gresley as an experienced and trusted driver.

He was accompanied by fireman Thomas Bray.

A special carriage recorded a peak speed of 126 mph. The previous record had been set in Germany in May 1935, with a top speed of 124.5 mph.

Joe retired from the LNER in 1944, and died in April 1953, aged 76.

He lived around the Hyde Park area throughout his life, but later moved to Dunscroft, living on Broadway.

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. Liam Hoden, editor.