Hastings hero is honoured with blue plaque unveiling

Biddy Plaque 1 SUS-190814-105857001
Biddy Plaque 1 SUS-190814-105857001

One of the great characters of Hastings was remembered on Sunday with the unveiling of a blue plaque in the Old Town.

The tribute to Biddy the Tubman can now be seen over the door of 17 West Street, where he was born Alfred Mills Stonham in 1878.

Biddy Plaque 2 SUS-190814-110014001

Biddy Plaque 2 SUS-190814-110014001

Biddy would enthrall audiences with his antics off shore in the Old Town after the war.

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He would entice people, preferably young ladies, into his tub and then balance on the rim and spin it round before tipping them into the sea.

The idea of honouring the iconic figure came from Sue Church whose father, a native of Hastings, recounted Biddy’s antics to her.

Hastings Winkle Club stepped in to fund the costs of the plaque.

The plaque was unveiled by Christian Burton, Chairman of the Winkle Club and James Edward Bacon, Hastings deputy mayor and a great great grandson of Biddy.

People gathered for the unveiling ceremony were reminded by Richard Stevens. of Hastings Winkle Club, that as well as being known for his seaborne performances, which raised money for charities including the Winkle Club, Biddy had also been given a silver medal by the RNLI for his life-saving activities with Hastings Lifeboat and had fought in two world wars.

The unveiling event was attended by the Hastings Carnival Court and a good crowd of local people. It was rounded off by a performance of “Biddy’s Song” by local musicians Phil White and Garry Blakeley.

Jim Breeds said: “It was a great way to remember one of our most prominent local heroes.” (Photos by Jim Breeds)

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