A street has been named after one of Rotherham’s most famous characters – the late civic chauffeur Fred Edwards.
Fred Edwards Park in Fred’s native Rawmarsh was being unveiled officially today by the Mayor of Rotherham, Coun John Foden.
The idea came from former mayor and Rawmarsh councillor Shaun Wright, now South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
He said: “It was a pleasure to have known and worked with Fred. He was a hugely popular man who served Rotherham with distinction.”
The nameplate, on The Wickets, a new Taylor Wimpey development off Harding Avenue, is a fitting tribute to a man who knew the streets across the whole region – originally as a bus driver, then as a chauffeur and courier for the council from 1990.
He was appointed the Mayor’s driver in 1998 and became well-known both for driving and accompanying the Mayor to civic events and for leading guided tours round Rotherham Town Hall.
Fred, who was aged 56 when he died, was well-known for his wicked sense of humour.
But he took his job extremely seriously and was hugely knowledgeable about the Rotherham Mayoralty and civic protocols, as well as being an experienced toastmaster and mace bearer.
The Mayor described Fred as ‘invaluable’.
“He was a huge help to the councillors who became Mayor,” said Coun Foden. “He had such a wealth of knowledge and advice.
“His early death was a massive loss. But I believe this new street name is a fitting tribute to Fred, who knew the area like the back of his hand and who loved Rawmarsh very much.”
Fred’s daughters, Emma Edwards and Kimberly Payne, who also live in Rawmarsh, said he would have loved it.
“We were very proud and still are of dad. He was definitely a showman and would have been thrilled with the attention we are receiving on his behalf.
“We are very honoured and know dad would be too.
“He will never be forgotten and now his name will live on, and this will be something his grandchildren, Robyn, four, and Finlay, one, can also be proud of.”