Big Big Train have highlighted an ongoing campaign to have Joe Duddington, the train driver immortalised in the band’s song East Coast Racer (from 2013’s English Electric Part Two), awarded a gravestone in Doncaster’s Hyde Park cemetery.
“Two of the real-life characters that appear in our song East Coast Racer are engine driver Joe Duddington and fireman Tommy Bray,” explains Big Big Train’s Greg Spawton. “A charity appeal has been set up to ensure Joe (who was buried in an unmarked grave) has an appropriate headstone. The target is £2,000. Big Big Train has donated £100 and we would greatly appreciate donations from any BBT Passengers who have any money to spare in these difficult times.”
Joseph “Joe” Duddington was the driver of the A4 Pacific Class Steam Locomotive, ‘Mallard’, when it broke the world speed record for steam locomotives on the 3rd of July 1938, reaching a speed of 126.4mph, a record that stands today. He was personally selected by Sir Nigel Gresley, the designer of the ‘Mallard’, for this important role.
Joe lived with his family in the Hyde Park area of Doncaster. He worked for the LNER until his retirement in 1944. Despite playing a pivotal role in this still unbroken world record, when Joe died in 1953, he was buried in an unmarked grave in Hyde Park Cemetery, Doncaster.
The Jospeh Duddington Appeal is aiming to raise over £2000 to mark his grave and give him the headstone he deserves. The headstone will not only remember Joe and his wife Mary Alice, but also mark his huge achievement and his importance in the railway history of Doncaster.
Covid-19 has put pay to the guided walks and talks The Friends Of Hyde Park cemetery usually use for grave projects. You can donate at the link below.