A fitting tribute to a forgotten heroCuthbert John Ottaway
England's first Captain
I was horrified when I first found out of the state of Cuthbert Ottaway's rests neglected grave in Paddington Old Cemetery off Willesden Lane.
Once the plot was more grand with "a granite ledger [stone slab] on marble plinths with iron standards and railings." The inscription – now long-gone – once read:
"In memory of Cuthbert John Ottaway, only child of James Cuthbert & Jane Ottaway, born July 20th [error] 1850, died April 2nd 1878."
Now thanks to the kind generosity of a number of people and organisations Cuthbert will have a memorial that is more fitting.
I have received tremendous support from a number of individuals. Too many to list but without their help none of this would have been possible. I would like to pay particular thanks to Brooke Hunter and Patricia Reid who are immediate descendants of Cuthbert who have given me their permission and support to erect a memorial. I can not put into words my appreciation for their kindness.
Other relatives of Cuthbert , Gini and Tom Otway have also made significant contributions.
Terry Staines and Maurice Oram from Marlow FC have been instrumental in helping me to raise the money for the work. I would also like to thank them for sorting out the officials, pitch and allowing us the use of their stadium.
The FA have been supportive in their generosity and have recognised Cuthbert in the FAs 150th anniversary. I would like to particularly acknowledge the assistance of Ivor Becks and Greg Demetriou.
The PFA have also pledged a significant amount to the memorial fund and im grateful for their support and the work of Gordon Taylor.
Cuthbert was a great all round sportsman and he represented Oxford University at ‘Blue’ level in five different sports. He captained Oxford University in their one and only F.A.Cup Final triumph in 1874. In the 1875 Final saw Cuthbert turn out for Old Etonians against the Royal Engineers – a match which was drawn, with the Old Etonians losing the replay.
Through the work of Mick Southwell I received a cheque from The Old Etonian Association. Quoting from their letter, "it is marvellous that Cuthbert is still remembered and that there will be something more suitable to remind people of his story".
There are also other England fans who have been touched by the story and have contributed that want to remain anonymous.
Brent Council have also been helpful in arranging the transfer of memorial and burial rights to me.
I would also like to thank Mick Southwick the author of a a biography about Cuthbert who has been of tremendous help. Without Mick none of this would have been possible.
Finally, and by no means least the Englandfans FC. Garford Becks and the management team staged a very fitting match against Belgium for the Cuthbert Ottaway Memorial Cup. Garford also helped to raise the national profile of the campaign. Again i would like to thank all those at the Engalndfans FC.
Today we will play a commemorative
veterans game between Englandfans FC and Marlow FC. Fittingly the match will be held on the pitch where Cuthbert played against Marlow FC at Riley Park.
Thank you once again for helping me to ensure that Cuthbert has a resting place fitting for a national hero.
Source: Coventry MAD