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Family given sneak peek of Heritage Trail plaque for local hero

George Newberry George Newberry

The family of a decorated Olympic cyclist from South Derbyshire has been given a sneak peek of where a lasting tribute is to be erected in his honour.

George Newberry, a bronze medal winner at the 1952 Games in Helsinki, will be celebrated on the upcoming Swadlincote Heritage Trail.

Son Ian was on hand to see where a commemorative blue plaque will be positioned on the corner of Hartshill Road and Goseley Avenue, Hartshorne – near to where George once lived.

He described it as a proud moment and fitting recognition of his dad’s achievements.

George was conscripted to the army in 1939 at the age of 22 and served with the Royal Engineers as part of the eighth army (Desert Rats) in Egypt. He was demobbed in 1946 and returned to Swadlincote to live in Coppice Side.

He then resumed his cycling career, representing Britain at major sporting events before his star turn at the Olympics in Finland.

He made his living working at a local pipe yard and was known for being part of the ‘Swadlincote Wheelers’ cycling club. He also has a road named after him in Church Gresley, near to where he grew up.

Ian said:

“I am very grateful to everyone involved in the Heritage Trail Project. Without their work my dad, who I am very proud of, and other people’s achievements would not have been recognised.

“Swadlincote has a very rich history of hard working heavy industries and coal mining, where people were a community that had values and respect for others. My dad was born and bred in the town and was always proud of his roots and where he came from.”

Derbyshire County Councillor Linda Chilton chose George as her Heritage Trail focus and has donated £500 towards the project.

Swadlincote Heritage Trail is set to be launched in June and is funded by a range of different organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund.

With support from local history archive, The Magic Attic, the trail will consist of 25 plaques, three lecterns, an interactive map on the SDDC website and 2 leaflets which will be available from Swadlincote Tourist Information Centre and online.

As part of the project, Burton and South Derbyshire College students are working on an app which includes archived photographs, video clips and interviews about the people and places included in the trail.

Cllr Peter Watson, Chairman of South Derbyshire District Council’s Environmental and Development Services Committee, said:

“Swadlincote is a truly historic town that’s rich in culture and heritage. The Heritage Trail will give people the opportunity to explore the town from a new perspective, revealing interesting stories behind some of its momentous places.”

10 April 2018

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