Tony Foulds moved to tears as star is unveiled at Sheffield Legends Walk of Fame
Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds – the man who inspired a spectacular flypast to remember those who died in a wartime plane crash – was moved to tears today as he was honoured with a star on the city’s Walk of Fame.
All 10 crew on board the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, were killed when it plummeted from the skies and crashed into Endcliffe Park in 1944.
Tony, now aged 83, was one of a group of school children to witness the American bomber crash and has been diligently tending to a park memorial and laying flowers at the scene for decades.
His story was first revealed by The Star and hit the headlines across the world earlier this year, which inspired a military flypast over Sheffield to mark 75 years since the tragedy in February.
After spending years ensuring others are remembered, today was Tony’s time in the limelight as he became the 21st Sheffielder to be recognised with a star on the Sheffield Legends Walk of Fame outside the Town Hall.
The Lowedges grandfather-of-four broke down in tears as a plaque bearing his name was unveiled, alongside other city heroes including astronaut Helen Sharman OBE, footballer Gordon Banks OBE and actor Sean Bean.
Sporadic calls of ‘well done Tony’ broke out from a smal crowd of about 100 people gathered to witness the ceremony.
Tony said: “I never expected this, it is a beautiful thing.
“To be alongside names like Gordon Banks – wow.
“My lads will be up there watching.”
He later joked: “I’ll have to keep coming back to polish the plaque.”
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High-profile guests including the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, councillor Tony Downing, councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, military champion councillor Tony Damms and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, joined Tony at the event.
The Star first reported on Mr Fould’s plight last year and the story gained traction to a worldwide audience after Mr Walker broadcast the story on BBC Breakfast.
Around 15,000 people gathered in Endcliffe Park to see nine planes fly overhead in February, including an awe-inspring missing man manoeuvre, in tribute to the Mi Amigo victims.
Mr Walker said: “I think Tony is probably a little bit embarrassed about all this because from the start, and any of you who have followed this story will know, it has never been about him.
“It has always been about remembering those 10 men who meant so much to him.”
The Mi Amigo 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.
The pilot, lieutenant John 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.