Calls are growing for Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds to be rewarded with an MBE after yesterday’s flypast in honour of victims of the Mi Amigo plane crash.
Tony was only a young boy when he witnessed the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, crash into Endcliffe Park in 1944, killing all 10 crewmen on board.
A flypast was watched by thousands of people in the park, and millions more live on TV, on Friday to mark 75 years since the tragedy.
It also acted as a tribute to Tony, who has diligently spent the best part of seven decades tending to a park memorial on a weekly basis.
The Star has been inundated with messages from readers calling for the 82-year-old to be honoured for his dedication.
Alec Welland said he was “moved enough” by Tony’s story that he has now launched an online petition calling for him to receive the MBE for “services to remembrance.”
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He added: “It was clear by the size of the crowd that his efforts are hugely respected and admired in the community.”
Another reader informed us that they are writing to Downing Street to put him forward for an award as “his dedication is something that should be rewarded.”
There are also scores of messages on Twitter urging the powers that be to reward him.
People have also launched an online crowdfunding page to raise money to help with the upkeep of the memorial.
The grandfather-of-four, of Lowedges, said it would be “absolutely brilliant” to receive an award from HRH The Queen and thanked people for their support.
Around 10, 000 people gathered in the park to witness the flypast, including relatives of the Mi Amigo pilot lieutenant John Kriegshauser.
The aircraft had completed a daring day time raid on the Aalborg airfield in occupied Denmark but was hit in the attack and limped back over the North Sea.
It is believed the crew was attempting to make an emergency landing on the field – but when they spotted Tony and his friends on the grass they diverted and crashed into a nearby wooded area to avoid landing on them.
Lt Kriegshauser was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for minimising loss of life.
Their ultimate sacrifice left Tony with feelings of deep-seated guilt and he has visited the scene and tended to the memorial regularly ever since.
Thousands of people and organisations, including The Star and BBC presenter Dan Walker, got behind his call for a flypast.
There will be an act of remembrance on Sunday which will include wreath laying at the memorial from 1.15pm, followed by a service at St Augustine’s Church in Brocco Bank at 2pm.
*To sign the petition calling for Tony to receive an MBE visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/242859/sponsors/new?token=RD6eVs5IxlfJDbfrxQfM
To donate for the upkeep of the memorial visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tonyfoulds?utm_id=119&fbclid=IwAR2VCK-4udy3O5R3qeCqZ5QGN4-UNekVJr22N-MTR49I6UWbvwN_gtDyef4