Sunday, 14 June 2009

Postman's Park (48): a new memorial plaque

Last week, the new Watts Memorial information panel was unveiled, but on Thursday something even more special was added to the memorial: the first new plaque for over seventy years.


Leigh Pitt jumped into the canal at Thamesmead to rescue a nine-year-old boy who had fallen in while playing. He succeeded in holding the child, Harley Bagnall-Taylor, above water until passers-by could pull him out using a hosepipe. However, because of the high canal walls, Mr Pitt was unable to get out himself and drowned.

His colleagues, particularly Jane Michele, and his fiancée Hema Shah persuaded the Diocese of London to allow a plaque to be added to the Memorial. It was unveiled yesterday in the presence of the Lady Mayoress.

The design, wording, and above all the bravery they record fit perfectly into the memorial. Watts would have approved of Ms Shah's comment that 'I would hope Leigh's actions would inspire someone to help another'. That was exactly what he intended for the memorial.

Leigh Pitt's plaque reads:

LEIGH PITT, REPROGRAPHIC OPERATOR, AGED 30, SAVED A DROWNING BOY FROM THE CANAL AT THAMESMEAD, BUT SADLY WAS UNABLE TO SAVE HIMSELF, JUNE 7 2007

The Diocese of London have indicated that they will consider other applications for plaques commemorating 'acts of remarkable heroism'. Let us hope that this marks a revival of Watts's vision, and that the Memorial will continue to be an evolving part of London life.

2 comments:

Adam said...

I think it's brilliant that they've restarted the series. I imagine that it gives a lot of comfort to the victims family and friends.

Tina - omme i London aka teeweewonders said...

I just saw the plaque today and was really touched. The messages on these plaques are amazing.