Sheffield hero Tony Foulds devastated after council chop down ‘Mi Amigo’ memorial tree

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Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds is left devastated after an American Oak tree that was part of his 'Mi Amigo' memorial was chopped down by Sheffield City Council.

The 83-year-old, who has been maintaining the memorial at Endcliffe Park for years, said he was never informed by the council of such a move.

He said although the tree had been dead for two years, it had always been part of the memorial as it represented one of the crews who perished in the 1944 Mi Amigo plane crash.

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The great grandfather said: "It should have been talked to me to see if I wanted to do anything about it as I am the one who looks after the memorial."He said the tree was “ironically” chopped down on Monday (November 30) when he wasn't around as Mondays are his days off from looking after the memorial.

Tony Foulds at the Mi Amigo Memorial where the council had chopped down an American Oak tree. Tony Foulds at the Mi Amigo Memorial where the council had chopped down an American Oak tree.
Tony Foulds at the Mi Amigo Memorial where the council had chopped down an American Oak tree.

"This is personal to me, this memorial. I’d like to be involved in anything to do with it. I understand that it was perhaps a danger of the tree being dead for two years but I still wanted to be told what they would like to do with it.

"When I came in on Tuesday the first thing I saw was the tree laid down on the floor with all the twigs. Took me three hours to clean it up.

"I just wish they would let me know what was happening."

Tony, from Lowedges, has single-handedly been tending to the park memorial which is dedicated to the crews who died in the US Bomber plane crash.

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The plane was returning from a World War II operation when it crash landed in the Sheffield park, avoiding 8-year-old Tony and his friends, who were playing in the park.

A permanent memorial was built in Endcliffe Park in 1969 and since then Tony became more drawn to the crash site.

He added: “I thought it was part of the memorial and the fact that it represents the memorial. Ironically, the oak tree that was cut down, it was on the right side of the park. There are lots of things going on in my mind.”

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said the council “had no choice but to remove it” as it was dead and posed a risk to members of the public following an assessment of the oak tree.

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In a statement, she said: “We understand the significance of this memorial, particularly to Mr Foulds, and apologise that he was not personally contacted during our consultation around the tree’s essential removal.

“Two of the original scarlet oak trees planted in 1969 are still in place by the memorial stone and as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations last year, we planted another within Endcliffe Park.

"We are now looking at the possibility of adding a further oak to replace the one that died but suitable planting conditions need to be established first.

“We would love Mr Foulds to be involved in this, as well as exploring his wishes of preserving the stem from the original tree and will contact him to progress this.”