War memorial caretaker has tools stolen, sparking outpouring of support, as Dan Walker steps in to help

11 July 2024, 11:48

Tony Foulds had his tools stolen from the site
Tony Foulds had his tools stolen from the site. Picture: Social media

By Kit Heren

A man who looks after a war memorial in Sheffield had his tools stolen, sparking an outpouring of support that has seen several companies offer to replace them.

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Classic FM presenter Dan Walker shared the story of Tony Foulds, who maintains the Second World War Mi Amigo plane crash memorial in the south Yorkshire city, but who had his leafblower and other tools stolen from the site.

Mr Foulds, 88, who witnessed the crash as an eight-year-old boy, was left "devastated" by the theft, Mr Walker said.

But within a few hours, several hardware companies including Screwfix and Wicks had offered to replace the tools free of charge.

Many other people had also offered tools, as well as their "love and support", Mr Walker added.

Read more: Protesters who climb onto war memorials face three months in jail and £1,000 fine under new law

Read more: World War II veteran, 102, dies on his way to D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations in France

The presenter said that he had accepted Screwfix's offer, as they were first, but thanked everyone else who also came forward.

He said that Mr Foulds had been left "very emotional" by the outpouring of support.

Mr Walker added: "He is so thankful and really touched by all the kindness that he has seen today, and he's absolutely delighted that he can be able to get back to doing what he loves, which is looking after that memorial."

He added: "So thank you social media. Yes, you can be difficult and hard at times. But today, you've come through."

Tony Foulds
Tony Foulds. Picture: Social media

The Mi Amigo was a US airforce plane that crashed in Sheffield on February 22, 1944 as it was returning to the UK from a bombing mission, badly damaged.

All ten crew members died in the crash after the engines gave out.

The captain of the plane, John Krieghauser, was honoured posthumously for managing to steer the plane into a line of trees, away from children who were playing in the park.

One of those children was Mr Foulds, who vowed to honour the memory of the airmen. According to a fundraiser for Mr Foulds that has raised over £1,000, the plane was close enough that the children could see the captain waving them away.

A memorial garden and plaques were put up in memory of the crew in 1969. Mr Foulds goes back three times a week, taking three buses to the site and spending hours at a time there.

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