Sheffield councillors lambasted over Mi Amigo flagpole
Sheffield Council has been criticised over the location of the Mi Amigo flagpole in Endcliffe Park.
A permanent flagpole, dedicated to the US airmen killed when their bomber plane crashed into the park, has been erected so the stars and stripes flag can fly.
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 in 1944.
A memorial to their sacrifice was laid in September 1959 and Tony Foulds, from Lowedges, has tended it for the past 60 years.
Tony, aged 82, dug deep into his own pockets to pay for American flags to be sited at the memorial and following a flypast prompted by BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, the council organised for a 15ft high flagpole to be erected.
But a member of the public has strongly criticised councillors over the positioning of it. The speaker, who gave her name as Mrs Lascelles, made a passionate speech from the public gallery at a meeting of the full council.
She said: “Tony Foulds has been going into Endcliffe Park 365 days a year to look after the memorial and he has been asking for some recognition for that monument but it took Dan Walker from the BBC to recognise how special that place is in Sheffield.
“Tony got his fly-over and it was agreed that the flagpole would go up a bit higher than the monument so the flag could flutter above it.
“We thought it was a great idea but when the council came to put it in, they put it by the side so it’s stuck where it’s not wanted or needed.
“The park is run by the Friends group and is nothing to do with the council. The flag came down so damn quickly after the fly-past, nobody realised it was even there in the first place.
“We can’t put a flag on it as Tony is not allowed the key to run the flag up. Why not?”
Mary Lea, cabinet member for parks, said there were rules around when the Mi Amigo flag could be flown.
She said: “The flag pole is in the best position for health and safety reasons so the flag can be put up when necessary.
“The American Forces have donated their flag but they have stated they only want it there on the anniversary of the crash and the Sunday of the remembrance service.
“They take great pride in their flag and it’s being kept in pristine condition. If it was there at night, it would have to be illuminated and that’s something we can’t do.
“We are looking at a fitting and dignified flag that can be put up there all the time, which we will have easy access to and which can be washed and attended to. We are in discussions about an appropriate flag and who may be asked to design it.
“Most councillors were there on the day and it was a magnificent worldwide event. We are grateful for Tony for looking after that memorial all these years.”
Council Leader Julie Dore announced at full council that Tony would be granted the status of a Sheffield Legend with his very own plaque on the Town Hall’s ‘walk of fame’.
His story reached an audience of millions after Dan Walker heard about it and helped organise last month’s memorable flypast watched around the world.
The event included the US Airforce and Royal Air Force and took place on February 22, exactly 75 years to the day since eight-year-old Tony witnessed the crash.