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WOLVERHAMPTON: Local heroes honoured in naming ceremony

WOLVERHAMPTON: Local heroes honoured in naming ceremony

PIC: Busby Family

A Second World War hero, a much-missed community activist and a historic battle will all have Wednesfield car parks named after them.
Mayor of Wolverhampton Greg Brackenbridge will officially unveil plaques on the newly dedicated facilities in Woodhouse Fold at a ceremony on Sunday (October 17) from 11am.
The car parks will be named after dedicated community activist Steph Clarke who sadly died at the age of 36 in 2016, Royal Navy torpedo man William “Harry” Busby who fought in the Second World War while the third will be named after the Battle of Wodesnfield, which took place in 910.
This is the culmination of work for much-needed improvements to the car parks including resurfacing, improved lighting and new security cameras.
Jason Bayo, chairman of Wednesfield Business Alliance, said they had managed to secure £160,000 from the City of Wolverhampton Council’s initial £1 million Towns Fund to make enhancements to Wednesfield.
People living and coming into the town can now enjoy improvements including new market covers, flower beds, improved stonework and block paving, lighting and new bins.
Mr Bayo, who runs Elegant Frames & Mirrors on Lichfield Road, said they’d secured a further £2.5 million for future work in Wednesfield.
He said: “I was asked if I fancied renaming the car parks and I thought that was a great honour so we came up with names significant to Wednesfield.
“I chose Steph Clarke, who started the WV11 page with her husband James. She was a keen activist and photographer and she helped out around Wednesfield with so many volunteer groups.
“A friend of mine saw an article on William “Harry” Busby, who served on HMS Keppel as a torpedo man and even lost a finger using the machinery on the ship.
“He took part in daring convoys to Russia and Canada and earned an array of medals for his bravery. Plus he was a Wolves fan, former policeman and loved the Wednesfield Branch of the Royal British Legion. He died aged 96 in 2020.
“And I’d been in discussions with Ray Fellows and Simon Hamilton of the History Society.
“Wednesfield used to be called Wodensfield and the battle goes back to 910 AD so that’s how I came up with that one. We can have re-enactments on the big car park as well and Ray said it would be wonderful.”
He added: “I have had a shop here for 30 years. I’m born and bred Wednesfield and I saw it decline for many years.
“That’s why I’ve been pushing the council to spend money here. So when the Government gave the council a £1 million, I wanted a chunk of it.
“We are trying to bring the trade back into the high street. We knows its in decline but if you’d have seen it 12 months ago to what it is now. It is actually looking a million times better.
“There are a lot of volunteer groups, people who care who are making things happen. If we can pull Wednesfield together as a community and work well with the council, that’s what it is all about. We can’t expect the council to do everything all of the time.”
Councillor Brackenridge said: “I am delighted to formally open the newly named areas paying tribute to local community activist Steph Clarke and Royal Navy veteran William ‘Harry’ Busby.
“Both of these remarkable individuals helped to improve the lives of many people through their selfless service. They displayed the very best qualities and attributes of the Wednesfield people and Wulfrunians.
“The Battle of Wodensfield 910AD is also remembered as one of the most important battles in English history, where Edward the Elder led the Mercians and West Saxons in defeating the invading army and ending the threat from Northern Vikings.
“This vital piece of local history will be discussed by future generations after the naming ceremony on Sunday.
“I must pay tribute to all those involved in organising this event and thank them for their efforts to remember the best of Wednesfield and bringing local history to life.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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