Street tribute to FredPublished Thursday, 28th November 2013
A Rawmarsh street has been named after one of Rotherham's most famous characters - the late civic chauffeur Fred Edwards.
'Fred Edwards Park' has been officially unveiled by the Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor John Foden.
The idea for the nameplate came originally from former Mayor and Rawmarsh ward councillor, Shaun Wright, who is now the 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 and its Mayors with distinction throughout his career."
The nameplate on The Wickets, a new Taylor Wimpey development off Harding Avenue, Rawmarsh, is a fitting tribute to a man who knew the streets across the whole region - originally as a bus driver.
Fred joined Rotherham Borough Council in 1990 as a chauffeur and courier. He was then appointed the Mayor's driver in 1998, and became well-known across the borough and beyond for both driving and accompanying the Mayor to civic events and for leading guided tours around Rotherham Town Hall for various groups.
Fred, who was 56 when he died, was well-known for his wicked sense of humour. But he also took his job extremely seriously and was hugely knowledgeable about the Rotherham Mayoralty and all civic protocols, as well as being an experienced toastmaster and mace bearer.
The Mayor described Fred as "invaluable" to many Rotherham Mayors over the years. "He was a huge help to the councillors who became Mayor", he said. "He had such a wealth of knowledge and advice that he passed on both to members of the Council and the public.
"His early death was a massive loss to everyone who knew him, particularly his family and friends. But I believe that 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.
They added, "We were very proud, and still are, of dad. He was definitely a showman and would have been thrilled with the attention that we are receiving on his behalf.
"As a family, we would like to say a massive 'thank you' to the Council and the Mayor, Councillor John Foden, for allowing this tribute to happen. We are very honoured and know that dad would be too.
"He will never be forgotten, and now his name will live on and this will be something that his grandchildren, four-year-old Robyn and one-year-old Finlay, can also be proud of."
John Murphy, Managing Director Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire, added, "As a huge Rotherham personality and somebody who dedicated so much of his life to bettering the community, Taylor Wimpey was extremely keen to partner with the Council and name this road after Fred Edwards.
"We look forward to unveiling the plaque and hope that it serves to honour the memory of Fred."