THE son of Sir Michael Parkinson has praised the Barnsley community for their tributes to the TV chat show king after being on hand to unveil a commemorative blue plaque which has been installed in his late father’s home village.
Mike Parkinson attended the ceremony, held at the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Cudworth, on Wednesday and was joined by MPs Dan Jarvis and Stephanie Peacock, artist Ashley Jackson, cricket umpire Dickie Bird and councillors.
Sir Michael, who grew up in Moorland Terrace in the village, died in August following a short illness.
It prompted a sea of tributes to be posted both locally and nationally in memory of the 88-year-old, who was educated at Snydale Road First School in Cudworth and Barnsley Grammar School afterwards.
A plan was soon put forward in order to fast-track a blue plaque which are fitted onto buildings to celebrate the accomplishments of acclaimed individuals who achieved significant feats in their lifetime to commemorate his life.
Mike said his dad adored his home village and he would have seen the plaque as one of his proudest achievements.
“It’s such a fitting tribute and he’d have been chuffed by it,” he said.
“Cudworth was a nurturing place for my father and he was incredibly proud of his roots.
“His parents, John and Freda, were so proud of him and adored him they had the foresight to tell him to look away from the mine he was set to be in.
“He didn’t let his successful career thereafter define him, though, and journalism was very much his lifelong passion.
“It was an honour to be at the plaque’s unveil and on behalf of my mum and two brothers, we’d like to thank the community for pulling together.”
Dickie last spoke to his dear friend the day before he died.
He added: “He meant so much to me and was my closest friend we’d spend hours on the phone together.
“He was two years younger than me but we’re been friends since I was 14 my maths isn’t great but I make that about 75 years which is an enormous amount of time.
“I last saw Michael on my 90th birthday when he travelled up to Headingley from his home in Bray, Berkshire.
“I was touched he’d made such a long journey despite being in ill health.
“I miss him every day and this plaque is such a fitting thing to have for him, especially so in his home village which he loved so much.”
After leaving school at 15, he did his journalism training at The South Yorkshire Times.
He joined the Barnsley Chronicle before stints at the Yorkshire Evening Post, The Guardian and the Daily Express and The Sunday Times in 1965.
He began his chat show ‘Parkinson’ on BBC1 in 1971, running until 1982 and from 1988 to 2004 on the BBC and until 2007 on ITV.