Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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England and Man United great Sir Bobby Charlton unveils tribute to Duncan Edwards

England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton will travel to Dudley to unveil a blue plaque to commemorate Duncan Edwards.

The event will take place at Priory Park on Saturday 1st October at 3.00pm.

Sir Bobby was Duncan Edwards’ best friend, not only members of Manchester United’s famed “Busby Babes”, but served their national service together too. They were both on the plane which crashed attempting to take off from Munich in February 1958, a tragedy which claimed the lives of 23 of the 44 passengers, including Duncan Edwards.

He famously described him as "the only player that made me feel inferior". He said his death was "the biggest single tragedy ever to happen to Manchester United and English football" and has visited Dudley a number of times over the last few decades to open Duncan Edwards Close, unveil the town centre statue and dedicate a local sports facility in his honour.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has been working with Councillor Dave Tyler and members of the local community to honour Duncan Edwards with a blue plaque at Priory Park where he honed his skills near to his childhood home on the Priory Estate.

Councillor Tyler and Ian Austin launched an appeal to pay for the plaque which is being funded with generous donations from local residents, Manchester United F.C, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.

Duncan Edwards lived on the Priory estate in Dudley and signed for Manchester United as a teenager. He became the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division and then the youngest England player since the Second World War before his life was tragically cut short as a result of injuries sustained in the Munich Air Crash on February 1958.

Blue plaques, a scheme supported by English Heritage, celebrates the link between notable figures and the place they lived and grew up. The plaque commemorating Duncan Edwards has been designed by Dudley Borough Artist Steve Field.

Ian Austin said:

“We are all delighted that Sir Bobby is prepared to travel to Dudley to unveil our tribute to Duncan Edwards and we are really grateful to everyone at Manchester United and everyone else who contributed for their generous support for the plaque.

“Along with Duncan Edwards, Sir Bobby is one of the greatest footballers England has ever produced. More than that, the way he played on the pitch continues to be an inspiration to millions and the selfless contribution he has made to his club, his country and to sport is an example to everyone else.

“It says so much about his friendship with Duncan Edwards, his fundamental decency and Man Utd’s values as a club that he and they are supporting this tribute to his life and achievements.

Councillor Dave Tyler said:

“Duncan Edwards is one of the town’s most successful sons. He grew up on the Priory estate, attended Priory Primary and spent the majority of his weekends playing football with his friends at Priory Park.

“It will be great to have an official blue plaque to celebrate his local roots in the area where he practiced and polished his skills as a youngster. We are grateful to Sir Bobby and everyone at Manchester United for helping us pay this tribute to honour Duncan Edwards.”

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