Gravesend tribute to former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Ted Ditchburn
PUBLISHED: 16:22 28 October 2011
»One of the country’s greatest goalkeepers of the post-war era has been honoured at his former school.
A plaque commemorating the exploits of Ted Ditchburn – who began his career at Northfleet United and went on to become a Tottenham Hotspur and England star in the 1950s – was unveiled at Lawn Primary School in Gravesend on Friday.
Mr Ditchburn died in December 2005 at the age of 84 but will always be remembered fondly at his first club, now Ebbsfleet United, which nurtured a national sporting treasure, and at Spurs for helping them become English champions in 1951.
Perhaps his most memorable moment came when he was spotted for his prowess in goal for Spurs and was picked to play in a wartime international at Wembley in 1944 ahead of then No.1 Frank Swift.
His first full international cap came in 1948, when, at Highbury, England beat Switzerland 6-0.
Andrew Marshall, of the Gravesham Heritage Association, which came up with the idea to honour him, said: “This plaque is here to inspire the children and make them proud of their heritage and school.
“The school actually has another plaque recognising another hero, Derek Harden, who was awarded the Victoria Cross.
“The children here go to a school where a former pupil received the greatest military honour and another was one of the greatest sporting heroes. It’s a fantastic heritage.”
During his career, Ted, the son of a professional boxer from Gillingham, became known for his tall and well-built frame, his bravery and acrobatic ability.
During the war he served with the RAF as a physical education officer.
Though he was well respected he only managed six caps for England, the majority coming at the age of 35.
He made 418 league appearances for Spurs, the last couple in season 1958-59.
Among those who attended the ceremony were Ebbsfleet United chairman Phil Sonsara, Gravesham MP Adam Holloway, Deputy Mayor Cllr Lyn Milner and representatives from Spurs.
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